Call out to Australian Indigenous gathering of nations
The call is going out to Australian First Nations peoples and non-Indigenous observers to attend a gathering in Canberra on 26 and 27 November. It will be hosted by the Sovereign Union - First Nations Asserting Sovereignty.
The call is going out to Australian First Nations peoples and non-Indigenous observers to attend a gathering in Canberra on 26 and 27 November.
It will be hosted by the Sovereign Union - First Nations Asserting Sovereignty, which describes itself as an “independent Aboriginal grassroots sovereignty movement without a budget”.
One of its main personalities is Ghillar, Michael Anderson, a well-connected and internationally experienced activist for more than 40 years who leads his 3,000 Euahlayi people for whom he has unilaterally declared independence from Australia, leading the way for four more nations to do the same.
Anderson is the last survivor of the four young Black Power men who set up the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra in 1972. The Embassy site has taken on iconic significance for indigenous activism. Some of the gathering activities will take place there.
The agenda, still a work in progress, as announced so far:
Development of and responses to assertions of sovereignty and unilateral declarations of independence and the obstacles; sharing of experiences.
Treaties processes: clan-based treaties process in Victoria.
Canadian constitutional experiences.
Global movements: Reparatory justice.
Recreating traditional governance in modern practices. Fijian experience.
Protecting Country against transnational corporations.
Uniting First Nations on a single topic: Water: Murray Darling Basin Northern Basin Aboriginal Nations.
Open discussion on strategies to assert sovereignty including unilateral declarations of independence.
Music and cultural exchange. Singalong and open forum at Aboriginal Embassy.
Suicide story and youth issues.
Police immunity, institutional violence.
Pitfalls in constitutional recognition.
Governance – after Native Title: What next?
Resurrecting dominance of our Law, culture and customs.
Open forum – ways forward; drafting/adopting resolutions/communiques.
From the invitation text:
Whether or not you fully understand the implications of sovereignty, UDIs, decolonisation processes or treaties, you are welcome to attend the First Nations & Peoples Gathering to learn and/or contribute.
Meetings will be held at: Members Main Dining Room, Old Parliament House, Canberra and the Aboriginal Embassy (accommodation info below).
First Nation delegates: To be fully involved in discussions you need to have the right to speak for Country, the authority to speak for your Nation or the right to collect information for your nation. We would like you to introduce your delegation by identifying who you are, what Nation you belong to and your Dreaming. Bring your flag if you have one.
Observers welcome: If you are stolen generation and have been dislocated from your Country/Nation, please inform us so we can assist you in the repatriation process of restoring your knowledge, as it is not within our culture for our people to be without Dreaming and Connection to Country.
It is time to bring back the fullness and health of our culture, which underpins our culture. [Don't rely on anthropologists and genealogists because they are known to get it wrong!]
Non-Indigenous: Non-Aboriginal supporters are welcome as observers but we hope you understand First Nations people have priority over everything.
Venue: The venue will be the Main Dining Room of Old Parliament House (adjacent to the Aboriginal Embassy) which can hold 400 people. It is larger than the House of Representatives in Old Parliament House where we have held previous gatherings. Weather permitting, some of the sessions and working groups may be held outdoors at the Aboriginal Embassy.
Your contribution: We have been lucky to have some supporters helping us in keeping the costs to our people to a bare minimum. As you know, we are a grass roots organisation and must assert our independence without asking for government hand-outs, and are asking you to contribute to the expenses with a small registration fee of $10 per day to cover venue cost. We also ask you to be as self-sufficient as possible at all times.
Camping: People are able to camp at the Aboriginal Embassy but there are no suitable toilet and washing facilities. We recommend Canberra Carotel Caravan Park that is 20 minutes away from the Gathering location and close to the elders/disability accommodation. We are trying to arrange a pick-up and drop-off bus. This is a great camping spot with all the facilities in a country atmosphere with mountain views. You can camp close to the facilities or far enough away to have your own privacy. You don't need to book as there is plenty of room. Cost per night is: Unpowered $17 single camper ($12 per heard for extras), powered $22 single camper ($12 per heard for extras). There are also other types of accommodation on site but you may need to book in advance for these). Camping information.
Alternative accommodation for elderly and disabled: There will limited accommodation for elderly and those unable to camp from $20 per night (breakfast included). Please specify number and type of room. Double rooms, family rooms, or dormitory. It's an old convent with no smoking and no drinking regulations. There are no single rooms, just twin share and dormitory accommodation. Please inform us if you especially need to be on the ground floor. All of our people must leave the old convent before December, as it had been pre-booked.
Volunteers: Sovereign Union is a grass roots organisation without government or corporate funding and you may be in a position to assist our small group of volunteers throughout the two days of the gathering - such as security, registrations, catering, facilitating discussions, media/photos/video/technical support - or in some other way. Your contribution would be greatly appreciated and will help make the event run smoother. If so, leave details on the Registration Form.
Registrations: For all people intending to register, please read the registration page in advance of your booking to ensure you have the details we request. If you require assistance in registering, there is an email address and telephone contact number on the registration page.
Donations: The small core group organising the Annual Gathering of Nations are always personally out of pocket after the event, so anyone who supports our struggle for self-determination can assist us greatly with a donation of any amount, which would be very much appreciated.
For general inquiries please email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to keep abreast of Australian Indigenous developments, a free emailed news service is available: WGAR News, published by a handful of activists calling themselves Working Group for Aboriginal Rights.