Merimbula Letters to the Editor, February 21

Sweet Recess: Lumen Christ’s hospitality and food technology classes provided the entire school with a feast of pancakes, maple syrup and ice-cream on Shrove Tuesday.
Sweet Recess: Lumen Christ’s hospitality and food technology classes provided the entire school with a feast of pancakes, maple syrup and ice-cream on Shrove Tuesday.

Tom Griffin’s letter

It is hard to know where to start  but I cannot let this outrageous, ill informed nonsense, go unanswered.

In particular the most egregious part is to question whether Aborigines have been better off since this continent was settled by the British.

The survivors of British colonisation comprise three per cent of the population and make up greater than 28 per cent of the prison population. Noel Pearson has said that they are the most incarcerated people in the world. That can be substantiated with a "fact check" and their health outcomes are among the worst in the world.

As for the history of dispossession, death and destruction just a few comments.

Shortly after the First Fleet arrived something like 50 per cent of the Indigenous people of the Sydney region died from smallpox.

Indigenous Australians were hunted and massacred, men, women and children, throughout Australia. They were given poisoned flour and sugar, their water holes and country were despoiled and taken over by cattle and sheep and when they retaliated massive and disproportionate reprisals took place. Hunting and shooting took place even into the 1920s and 1930s.

The last full blood Tasmanian, Truganinni, died in 1876, but much earlier, within 30 years of the settlement at Hobart in 1804, 90 per cent of the Indigenous Tasmanians had been wiped out. 

As for Griffin’s atrociously judgmental remarks about those of mixed ancestry who identify as Aboriginal I would simply suggest he should educate himself by speaking to local Indigenous people.

Barry Stevens, Tura Beach

Understanding needed

The history of genocide, ethnocide and dispossession of Australian Aborigines is well documented, including the massacres and pillage unleashed on their communities, the abduction of young girls for slave work, the removal of children of mixed blood, the violence meted out to young boys in custody etc. And the gap remains wide to this day.

To the few Neanderthals who choose to turn a blind eye on the ongoing discrimination borne by Indigenous Australians, a modicum of empathy and understanding would go a long way towards healing the wounds past and present and establishing a more inclusive society.

Bernard Lagarenne, Merimbula

Insulting celebration

I take issue with the views of Tom Griffin of Pambula. I ask that you publish  my reply to his letter to the editor (BDN, 13/2).

Our occupation of this continent has not been to the advantage of the original people.

The fact is that Aboriginal mortality rates, disease disadvantage and rates of incarceration are much worse than for  any other group in our society.

It is historical fact the indigenous population of this continent was subjected to displacement, disease, genocide, slavery, the removal of children, internment and suppression of language and culture.

Aborigines have continuously occupied this continent for at least the last 60,000 years. There is archaeological evidence of culture, music art, language, law, territorial boundaries and technologies of housing and weaponry. In other words, they had a functioning, viable society for a very long time before we came  along to civilise them with our politics, smallpox, inequality, alcohol, unemployment, environmental destruction and the whole Monty Python litany of benefits.

It is historical fact that, despite waging war against the invaders, peace was not achieved by an act of treaty between the white invaders and the original occupants of this land.

Since there is no treaty, I take the view that it is insulting to celebrate anything on the same day as this continent had a foreign flag hoist over it.

Anthony Pearce, Candelo