Implications for Remote Aboriginal Settlements

Implications for Remote Aboriginal Settlements

Destroying Aboriginal Culture

Settlers destroyed their sustainable nomadic lifestyle; churches destroyed their traditional spirituality; ATSIC disempowered their initiated elders system, bureaucracies cut across their community structures; and the last Govt attempted to take them to ground zero.

All attempts that involved pain and destruction as a way of instilling a left-brain paradigm, have been spectacular failures, except at the level of picking up dysfunctional aspects of western culture, like alcohol, tobacco and other forms of substance abuse, all unknown in their own traditional culture. Sexual abuse was heavilt punished in historical traditional Aoriginal society. Dysfunctional methods create dysfunctional people and dysfunctional settlements.

Unrelenting Deterioration

Calls for increased and intensified bureaucratic controls are telling us that imposed solutions are getting progressively worse, instead of better. The bureaucratic council model under ATSIC was very often functionally and socially worse than the mission model. Post-ATSIC, the mainstream-only model has proved to be precipitously functionally and socially worse, ensuring rapid deterioration.

Isolated Remote Aboriginal Settlements

Some remote Aboriginal settlements may be 300 klms down a rough dirt road that destroys vehicles and becomes impassable in the wet. They may have been located out of the way, for reasons of convenience and expedience, on marginal land that nobody was able to do anything with. Some have been appallingly sited with respect to elements, on flood plains, away from good water, on barren land, and without tree shelter, etc.

Most are not likely to be near places to ply trade, and there is unlikely to be much commercial interaction, internal or external. Local stores are likely to be run by non community people, with very high prices and few choices, and be seriously over representing junk food.

Few people have full time work, and part time CDEP does not provide sufficient income to provide basic living requirements in these circumstances. For those whom have no substantial paid work, their lives are understandably boring, empty, unfulfilled, destitute and increasingly desperate.

The bureaucratic settlement model here is a particularly expensive and inefficient model for people living on very remote, environmentally marginal land, and would be highly risky to try to develop in that setting.

What is required short-term, mid-term and long-term is the creating of real, functional, wholesome communities, in modern, sustainable ways. Aborigines are past masters of mobile sustainable community living, and re-embracing sustainability in a permanent setting and including modern sustainability understandings should not be overly difficult.

Outstations and Homelands

Outstations, being even more remote, smaller, and with less infrastructure and fewer material and food supplies, are always tenuous at best under the bureaucratic settlement model. Outstations are most in need of sustainability principles and practices. They are also the easiest of all places to get significant improvements using sustainable principles and practices.

Need to Begin Immediately

In all remote settlements, everything should be done as sustainably as possible as soon as possible, especially purchases, because everything unsustainable that is purchased and installed in remote Aboriginal communities must be regularly serviced, maintained, repaired and periodically updated or replaced with something inevitably more expensive.

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