August 28, 2009 |
The Australian government breached international obligations on human and indigenous rights by imposing radical restrictions on Aborigines during a crackdown on child abuse in Outback communities, a United Nations expert said Thursday. The U.N. special rapporteur on indigenous human rights, James Anaya, said his 12-day fact-finding tour of Australia revealed that the Aboriginal minority still suffers from "entrenched racism." Anaya's comments came as Australia launched its latest bid to address inequality, ill-health and poverty among the country's 500,000 indigenous people, issues that have dogged the country since white settlers arrived more than 200 years ago. The government said Thursday it would set up a new national representative body this year to advise it on policies relating to Aborigines.
May 10, 2009 |
If there is one lesson that the writer and editor can learn from George W. Bush's war on terror -- and I mean one insightful, nongeopolitical lesson -- it is this: Beware of people who lean too heavily on abstract nouns. What they inevitably seek is not so much wiggle room as slither room -- of course, the war on poverty or the war on drugs, which is itself a sort of war on the poor (that is the sort of irony one can only appreciate in the comfort of one's home).
April 17, 2009 |
In all of American history, nothing has been more politically radical than the late 18th century ideas of Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson and their cohorts. Authors of the first great liberal documents -- "Common Sense," "The Rights of Man," the Declaration of Independence -- they saw their intellectual propositions, both brilliant and flawed, ignite social revolutions. Starting around 2002, Sam Durant began making a provocative series of works that ruminate about seemingly radical political ideas that have in fact been institutionalized.
February 16, 2008 |
They shout "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie" and "Oi! Oi! Oi!" at St. Mary's basketball games in Moraga these days. But the best news that Patrick Mills, the standout freshman from Australia, heard this week didn't have anything to do with the latest top 25 ranking for the Gaels, who play at Loyola Marymount tonight and at Pepperdine on Monday. It was word from home about the Australian government's formal apology to Aborigines and other indigenous Australians for the racist policies of the past.
February 13, 2008 |
Australia apologized today to its indigenous people for past suffering in a watershed Parliament vote broadcast on giant TVs in cities, at school assemblies and at breakfast barbecues in Aboriginal communities in the outback. Lawmakers unanimously adopted Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's motion on behalf of all Australians. The apology was directed especially at the tens of thousands of Aborigines who were forcibly taken from their families as children under now-abandoned assimilation policies.
February 12, 2008 |
Aborigines in white body paint danced and sang traditional songs in Parliament today in a historic ceremony that was Australia's recognition that the land on which the capital, Canberra, was built was taken from Aborigines without compensation. Aborigines of the Ngunnawal tribe called on their ancestral spirits to welcome newcomers to Parliament in a ceremony held in a hall of the national legislature. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd accepted a traditional "message stick" of welcome. On Wednesday, he will offer a formal apology to thousands of Aborigines who were taken from their families as children.
July 19, 2007 |
There was a point during production of "Ten Canoes," the first feature made entirely in an Australian indigenous language and based on traditional stories, when writer-director Rolf de Heer asked himself, "What am I doing here?" Made in collaboration with and featuring numerous members of the Ramingining Aboriginal community in Arnhem Land in northern Australia, the lighthearted comedy is set years before the arrival of whites, during tribal times of the Yolngu.
January 7, 2007 |
A spectacular array of totem poles greeted me as I stepped from the bus at Thunderbird Park, a prime tourist attraction in downtown Victoria. Not far away, at the Royal British Columbia Museum, I found another collection -- among them some of the world's oldest known totem poles. It was my first encounter with this fascinating world of aboriginal culture and art.
October 6, 2005 |
The British Museum and eight other leading British institutions plan to return human remains to indigenous communities abroad, according to a new British law. A section of the Human Tissue Act, announced Wednesday by the British government, allows museums to return remains "which are reasonably believed to be under 1,000 years in age." Australian Aborigines have appealed to the British and Australian governments for more than 20 years to help them bring the remains of their ancestors home.