Category Archives: land

An Advent sermon. Aboriginal land and the Uniting Church’s covenanting process.

An Advent sermon presented to the West End Uniting Church, December 15 2013.

(The original sermon included a commentary on James 5:7:11 in accord with the church lectionary readings for the week but it is of only tangential relevance to the substance of the sermon so I have left it out)

Advent is the time when we prepare to celebrate the festival of the birth of Jesus and a time when we prepare for the incoming of God’s kingdom in all its glory.

Jesus is the liberator who brings good news to the poor, release for the captive and liberation for the oppressed.

Advent is a season of expectantly waiting, let us expect Jesus the liberator and in terms our covenanting process, let us expect liberation and justice for Aboriginal people. Continue reading

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The Federal Government’s “Act of Recognition” and Aboriginal customary law.

What the high court says has been extinguished, legislation now says is continuing.

It is not the Australian constitution, with or without its proposed amendments, that extinguishes Aboriginal sovereignty and customary law within Australian law. It is the Racial Discrimination Act that does it. Continue reading

The epistle of John Tracey to the Christian Anarchist congregation of the Brisbane Anarchist Summer School 2013

Christian anarchism and the religion of Caesar: Transcending the Roman religion and rediscovering the tribal indigenous Jesus

read it – here

Australian socialism and Aboriginal struggle; a critique.

I paint this essay with very broad brushstrokes. I am aware that there are many exceptions as well as different degrees amongst different groups regarding my various generalisations. This essay does not attempt to provide an accurate historical record but rather to provoke consideration of some general issues of the history of the Australian “Left”.

The Australian ethos is anti-racist, within its own definitions of what racism is. Australia’s anti-discrimination laws affirm all Australians’ right to be white (culture, not skin colour), equal under the sovereign legal and parliamentary system modeled on the English law. All rights and interests outside the white law including rights specifically attributable to an ethnic group such as rights inherent in Aboriginal customary law, are considered discriminatory, therefore illegal. The High Court of Australia relies on anti-discrimination legislation in its blanket extinguishment of Aboriginal customary law as a law pertaining to a particular race.

Notions of “racism”. “equality” and “justice” that are constructed within the cultural and legal frameworks of the dominant colonial society will only affirm colonial domination, whether those frameworks are conservative, liberal democratic or radical socialist. Continue reading

The historical context of the new testament.

The time of the stories of the new testament lies between two major events in the Middle East, the Maccabees revolt of the second century BC and the Roman-Jewish wars of the first and second centuries AD. Continue reading

In support of Bess Nungarrayi Price – letter to editor of the Alice Springs News

I have been asked to publish this letter, which I do so gladly. I have no intention of engaging in Central Australian tribal politics but I believe this letter indicates a dimension of Aboriginal politics that is often overlooked in the white left/right commentary. So called “supporters” and opponents of Aboriginal power alike have tended to line up Aboriginal leaders in opposition camps according to standard white ideological narratives. The result of this has been, once again, dismissing Aboriginal perspective on its own terms.

Discussion of the issues at “Workers Bush Telegraph” (comments run from bottom to top) – A Message from the Warlpiri People

In support of Bess Nungarrayi Price

Sir – This is an open letter to those who think they know us better than we do
ourselves.

We are Warlpiri people from the communities of Yuendumu, Wirliyajarrayi,
Lajamanu and Nyirrpi as well as the town camps of Alice Springs.

Bess Nungarrayi Price is with us today to say goodbye to one of our lost children. We are sorry and in mourning. Bess Nungarrayi is one of us. She was born here at Yuendumu and grew up here. We are all family to her. It makes us sad and angry when we hear that white people and town Aboriginal people in Sydney and in Alice Springs are insulting Bess and telling lies about her. When you insult her you insult all of us, we are her family.

Nungarrayi lives in Alice Springs but she talks to us all the time. She listens to what we tell her. Many of our people also live on the town camps in Alice Springs. Barbara Shaw does not lead them, she doesn’t speak our language. Nungarrayi always does her best to help any of us when we are in trouble. We support her in her struggle to make life better for us.

We are hurt and angry now by the things that these people have been saying.
Aboriginal people should know better than to hurt people who are in sorry business. No white person knows us better than Bess does. We don’t know who this Snowy River woman who calls herself Nampijinpa. We don’t know Marlene Hodder. They don’t speak our language like Nungarrayi does. They don’t know what is in our minds and hearts like Nungarrayi does. These people should apologise to her and to us, her family, for the things they have been saying.

More than 120 signatures are in the possession of the Alice Springs News. They are available from piiji@bigpond.net.au

So this is Christmas?

Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, 
   to us a son is given, 
   and the government will be on his shoulders. 
And he will be called 
   Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, 
   Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

What is this Christmas thing that the Christian church holds as so important? There is no Christmas in the bible. There is however Hanukah – the festival of light – that celebrates the rededication of the Jerusalem temple after its defilement by invading Hellenist imperial forces. The festival of light occurs at various times in December, depending on the year as the Hebrew calendar is lunar as opposed to Rome’s solar matrix.

John 10 tells us that Jesus participated in the festival of light, indeed that is where he declared himself as Messiah before the skeptical temple authorities.

The Roman Christmas festival is a re-branding of various Hellenist festivals including the (virgin) birth of deities such as Mithra and Sol Invictus that occurred on December 25 in pre-christian Rome.

The irony of the Christian church’s embrace of Christmas is that its roots lie in the same Hellenic culture and tradition as the invaders of Judea that defiled the Jerusalem temple and whose eviction from Israel is celebrated in the festival of light.

The birth of Jesus is recorded in the bible – the nativity story. Jesus was born in the context of rule under King Herod the Great, a fraudulent and corrupt king of the Jews who operated a puppet regime of Rome and redeveloped the Jerusalem temple with Rome’s loot. The baby Jesus is born a king by way of his authentic descent from King David, a terrible threat to the sovereignty of Herod and for which the massacre of the innocents was ordered.

The nativity story, just like the festival of light, is a story of indigenous sovereignty and its assertion under imperial domination. This has somehow been white-washed from Christendom’s retelling of the story.