Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Indigenous Australians & Pilkington's Follow The Rabbit-Proof Fence

I’ve posted about Native American tribes in the US. Now let’s take a look at the experience of indigenous Australians.

Here's Monday’s BBC article “Living Black: Australia's trail-blazing indigenous show:”
Australia's trailblazing indigenous TV programme "Living Black" is celebrating a decade of bringing stories of triumph, resilience and tragedy to a national audience. The country's longest-running indigenous news and current affairs show has survived tight budgets and management changes to become a beacon of broadcasting in a country where indigenous life can be ignored by the mainstream media. 
"It is a unique programme that is filling a void," said Karla Grant, presenter and executive producer at the Living Black studio in Sydney. "No one else is doing the stories that we do." "We are closer to the issue because we may have faced it within our own families. Our programme gives indigenous people a voice right across the country," she said. 
The programme's small production crew is responsible for 26 episodes each year that aim to give in-depth coverage of social justice, employment, health, and housing issues. All are areas of crisis that make Australia's first peoples its most disadvantaged.
For a novel about Aboriginal Australians, try Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence by Doris Pilkington:
The remarkable true story of three young girls who cross the harsh Australian desert on foot to return to their home. 
Following an Australian government edict in 1931, black aboriginal children and children of mixed marriages were gathered up by whites and taken to settlements to be assimilated. In Rabbit-Proof Fence, award-winning author Doris Pilkington traces the captivating story of her mother, Molly, one of three young girls uprooted from her community in Southwestern Australia and taken to the Moore River Native Settlement. At the settlement, Milly and her relatives Gracie and Daisy were forbidden to speak their native language, forced to abandon their aboriginal heritage, and taught to be culturally white. 
After regular stays in solitary confinement, the three girls scared and homesick planned and executed a daring escape from the grim camp, with its harsh life of padlocks, barred windows, and hard cold beds. The girls headed for the nearby rabbit-proof fence that stretched over 1,000 miles through the desert toward their home. Their journey lasted over a month, and the survived on everything from emus to feral cats, while narrowly avoiding the police, professional trackers, and hostile white settlers. Their story is a truly moving tale of defiance and resilience.

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