By Leanne Miles
With the 50th anniversary of the Wave Hill walk-off and the 40th anniversary of the passing of the Northern Territory Aboriginal Land Rights Act this year, a prominent Indigenous Territorian will question what there is to celebrate, at a lecture next month.
The 8th HC Nugget Coombs Lecture “Unhappy anniversaries: what is there to celebrate?” will be delivered by the Chief Executive Officer of the Northern Land Council Joe Morrison at Charles Darwin University on October 5.
Mr Morrison will question what benefits the government policies have delivered to Indigenous peoples over the past 50 years and including the most recent decade with next year marking the 10th year of the Commonwealth Emergency Response - the Intervention.
“Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory have been so distracted gaining, then defending, their rights that they simply have not secured their future,” Mr Morrison said.
“Developing the North is a hollow mantra without real inclusion of Indigenous peoples; the need for them to be consulted is ignored and self-management continues to elude them.
He said that to date “Closing the Gap” targets remained unmet and social determinants of health for Aboriginal people were stagnant, while rates of imprisonment were ever increasing.
“The failure of public policies in the Northern Territory leads only to the conclusion that Aboriginal people themselves must seize the agenda for change, in order to achieve social and economic development on their own terms for themselves and for the nation,” he said.
Mr Morrison was born and raised in Katherine and has Dagoman and Torres Strait Islander heritage.
He holds a tertiary qualification from the University of Sydney and has more than 25 years' experience working with Indigenous people across Northern Australia and internationally on the management and development of traditional lands and waters.
His experience includes extensive community development, research and policy creation focused on land and water rights, climate change, Indigenous knowledge, Indigenous ranger employment and Indigenous governance.
The free public lecture commemorates the contribution of Dr Herbert Cole Coombs to Indigenous affairs and is co-presented by The Australian National University and CDU. It will be held on Wednesday 5 October at 6:15pm in the Mal Nairn Auditorium, Red Precinct, Building 7 Casuarina campus, CDU. To RSVP visit W: anu.edu.au/events