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Australian government colludes with uranium miners in displacing Aboriginals from their homelands

“As an elder of the Yankunytjatjara and the APY Lands I state my absolute disappointment and disgust with the governments of South Australia and the Commonwealth. I say “NO” to mining in APY Lands and I say “NO” to homeless centres being built for our people away from their traditional homelands.

Elder believes the APY Land is being dismantled, by Yami Lester, (OAM) Order of Australia Medal)

Yankunytjatjara Elder Yami Lester is deeply disturbed by the exodus of Anangu from the APY Lands over the past several years. Big mining has been approved for the area but there are no jobs.. He says many families are not returning, causing a decline in the population of the lands. Lester who was awarded the Order of Australia medal in 1981 for service in the field of Aboriginal Welfare says,“The governments are now impatient to mix Anangu into the mainstream, hundreds of kilometres from their homelands.

“As of March this year twenty-seven mining companies were given approvals to mine on APY Lands in the Far North of South Australia, and now mining companies and Anangu will be competing for clean water. We are surrounded by mineral wealth, but services are being withdrawn and people are leaving.”
“The dismantling and destruction of the APY Lands for domestic and international mining interests is a cruel and racist act,” said Yami Lester.
“The APY Land has half the number of Anangu and half the services that we had 10 years ago. Anangu can no longer find jobs on our lands when 10 years ago there were many jobs and many services like other communities our size. Services for APY Lands are now being situated a long way away, but there are no jobs in these towns for traditional Anangu – only homeless centres.”
“For every Anangu that is manoeuvered off the lands a white person gets a job, a car and a house. This latest hardship will provide new jobs for government workers, but no help is provided for those Anangu suffering from mental problems caused by despair– why?”
“I strongly object to the government making services for the Anangu outside of their homelands in places like Ceduna, Coober Pedy, Port Augusta, and elsewhere, where they are getting sicker from white man’s grog, drugs and diseases.
Alcohol and despair is still the genocide that is taking away our dignity and our will to look to the future.
These services must be returned to our communities,” he said.
“The APY EXECUTIVE in my opinion is not listening to what has been handed down since the time of creation. They seem confused about our choices and saying yes to the Government.“
“The South Australian Government sent their mining department to run after us for signatures over a decade ago and now they have secured our freehold homelands for mining. 27 mining companies are here now and the government is already taking the Umuwa administration to Adelaide.”
“Why is it that the South Australian Government tells us that the minerals on our land belong to the Crown and we have no rights to the water when the United Nations states otherwise? I would like the government to show me the papers where aboriginal people transferred any land, minerals or water to this government before they began selling it off,” said Mr. Lester.
“I don’t believe that the lawyers the government appoints for us are informing us about our rights because there are too many barriers that cause unequal outcomes for us and the Anangu are missing out. Now large numbers of APY people are being resettled by the government in places that are far away from the APY Lands, just as the big mining operations need our water.”
Assimilated Aboriginal people throughout Australia want us to sign the Australian Constitution. I think why should we? It is somebody else’s rules and when it comes to Sovereignty how does the Government dare say we don’t have it? “Our traditional lore is our law. We have our rules and legal systems and we want them acknowledged in our country,” he said.“I’m worried for our sacred sites that are so important to the traditional Anangu.
I do not believe that mining companies will respect our heritage. The connection of our people to our country will be lost within a generation.”“We have shared our sacred sites for 50,000 years with Yankunytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara People; with Central Australia’s NT People, WA People and the Maralinga Tjarutja People and I don’t believe the mining companies and APY Executive are listening to the cultural importance of our traditional laws, now that big dollars are in sight.”
Yami Lester believes that the Anangu are becoming refugees in a land they will no longer recognize when mining has destroyed it.“As an elder of the Yankunytjatjara and the APY Lands I state my absolute disappointment and disgust with the governments of South Australia and the Commonwealth. I say “NO” to mining in APY Lands and I say “NO” to homeless centres being built for our people away from their traditional homelands.”



September 16, 2013 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA, indigenous issues

1 Comment »

  1. This makes me so angry, I think we are being to nice to our controllers, we should look at how other peoples facing similar challanges inacted change, especially those tactics not considered legit (at leased to the controllers), lets get free!

    Comment by SS | October 22, 2013 | Reply

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