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From vornman@excite.com Wed Aug 2 09:45:22 2000
Date: Tue, 1 Aug 2000 22:32:09 -0500 (CDT)
From: dr wooo <vornman@excite.com>
Subject: (en) Aboriginal Australia, MESSAGE FROM PEACE WALK- KEVIN BUZZACOTT
Article: 101655
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
X-UIDL: cb6138ea4f0472da9ff1fe2c8bc463d9

Update on Walking the Land - for Our Ancient Right

From: Keepers of Lake Eyre <wagtail@picknowl.com.au>
Adelaide, South Australia, 1 August 2000

Date: Sun, 30 Jul 2000 22:03:05 -0700 (PDT)
From: Nicholas Szentkuti <szentkuti@yahoo.com>

Here is a message from Kevin Buzzacott. Please forward this to your friends and contacts. Please support the walk and the embassy in Victoria Park Sydney.

Message from Kevin Buzzacott, elder, leader and peacemaker, and the Walk for Peace from Lake Eyre to Sydney 2000

29 July 2000

We are walking our land, in the company of the old people and the old spirits of the ancient land. We are walking from Lake Eyre to Sydney, to arrive before the Olympic games, carrying the real flame with us, the sacred firestick with our big message of Peace to the World.

We must break through for Peace. All people are invited to join us and to take this message for Peace to Sydney. The sacred fire symbolises peace, warm hearts and minds, sharing, and the healing of sorrow. It burns with ashes from the first Aboriginal Tent Embassy fire in Canberra and holds the ashes of our leaders now passed away. People have brought ashes, sticks and water from special places to join with the fire and water from the old Lake on its way to Sydney and the sea.

The time is right, the old people are with us. The old land is calling, and the call is to join the walk for peace.

In June this year, people gathered at the southern shore of Lake Eyre and with ceremony and song and dancing from the old women of Coober Pedy, the walk began. Arabunna Elder Kevin Buzzacott led the walkers through the desert towards Marree, accompanied by cummunity leaders from Adnyamathanha country. The walk has carried the firesticks and Aboriginal flags across the Flinders Ranges, travelled south and east through pastoral leases, along the dingo fence, and followed the road through Broken Hill, Wilcannia, Bourke, Brewarrina, Walgett, Moree, and is now heading to Canberra and then to Sydney.

We have just left Moree, 50 days walking, done 1700 km, carrying the peace fire. The people have welcomed us everywhere, come out to meet the walk, lit fires and joined us for picnics and talking and music, and given us special gifts and messages to carry. In Moree, the local elders and the town council have welcomed us with a barbecue, and the police have escorted The Walk through town. The message is going ahead, and the elders in Gilgandra and Dubbo are preparing for our arrival.

Each place has showed such hospitality and sharing, and yet all across the land there is hurt and sickness, there is such healing needed. Many parents feel sad for their childrens' future. In the desert country there are ugly mines and the springs are drying up, the land and the deep ground water are in danger from radioactive industries. The pastoral land is dried and weedy from grazing, the river country is salted and the rivers silting up from cotton and crop irrigation and pesticides. Most of the old land is locked up so no one can walk on it.

We have got to break through for peace, bring people to the Fire to talk, and to end all this hurt and destruction.

For the walkers, this experience is very happy; it's about learning and sharing and respect. There are walkers from all over the country, and also from many other countries. The walk is accompanied by vehicles carrying good food, there is a well made camp each night and lots of music and stories. More are joining us and it can only get bigger and better.

Come and join The Walk through our land. The old ancestors are with us, bringing their blessing.

You can join us at any place -- just bring your your swag, bring your flags and stories and music and spirit.

WE arrive in Dubbo on Wednesday August 2 then south to Cowra, then to Canberra by August 23 where we gather at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy opposite the old Parliament House. We leave Canberra on August 26 to arrive in Sydney on August 31.

For more details of our itinerary please phone 0417 838 906.

We are walking the right way, the old spirits are with us, we can't lose.

If we move -- that old country power will come with us Let's all go home.

Monday July 31st, Coonabarabran,

The peace walk is presently recharging itself up in amongst the bungles of the Warrumbungles, 40 km out of Coonabarabran on the track through the park to Gilgandra. Yesterday a magic day with walkers ranging 100 km on both sides of the Newell Highway in the Pillaga Scrub country, teeming with wildlife and the bush rich with regrowth after fires and rain. We add the Pillaga to our endangered list, they want to log it for charcoal.

The previous day the walk had slogged out over the vast wheatfields in the leg out of Moree. A great time in Moree where the walkers saw their predecessors on video; the freedom riders who brought their bus up to Moree in 1967 to confront the apartheid and racism here. On the way out through the town, Kevin Buzzacott's caravan, having survived its bash across the dingo fence, lost a wheel as it rounded the bend into the main street showering sparks onto the road. His mobile home remains parked in the town, in the good care of a sympathetic council. A couple of hard long days with walkers coming in after dark but now having a day off and the walk feeling strong and in good spirits though there is a yowie alert at camp.

Web site with photographs of Peace Walk and the Arabunna Going Home camp

Peace Walk and Arabunna Going Home camp photograhs are available at the following web site:


The photographer describes them thus:

I took when I visited the peace camp and walked into Broken Hill

Have a look.

A further call for support and background information

On the 14th July, Isabel Coe, a veteran and elder of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra established an off shoot of the original Embassy, in Victoria Park across the road from the University of Sydney. The Victoria Park Embassy will be used to inform visitors and the media during the Olympics about the suppression of Indigenous rights by past and present governments.

On July 25, South Sydney City Council, issued the Embassy with a letter stating that they were currently unlawful occupying the park and demanded that they agree to Council terms if they wished to remain (attached below, with Embassy response).

In addition to the Council's attempt to close down the Embassy, a number of Sydney's radio shock jocks have gone on the offensive, labeling the Embassy a disgrace and encouraging listeners to ring the Council and complain.

In response, the Indigenous Student Network (ISN), who unanimously agreed to endorse the Victoria Park Embassy at a recent meeting, have launched a email and phone campaign in support of the Embassy.

We encourage all supporters of Indigenous Rights to contact the South Sydney City Council stating their support for the Embassy.

To support the Victoria Park Aboriginal Tent Embassy phone the South Sydney City Council on tel: 02 9288 5000 or email: sscc@sscc.nsw.gov.au

Please distribute this email widely.

The Tent Embassy also welcomes any donations of funds or goods (e.g. seating, tents, equipment, kitchen utensils etc) to assist in its running. All visitors welcome.

Kim Bullimore

On behalf of the Indigenous Student Network

Council Threatens Aboriginal Tent Embassy

Media Release issued by the Victoria Park Tent Embassy in response to the Council's letter.

The Aboriginal Tent Embassy has been set up to assert Aboriginal Sovereignty and in particular highlight how the Aboriginal people are regarded as aliens in our own land. We call upon the Australian community to respect our universal right to life.

We welcome the dialogue that has transpired between the Aboriginal Tent Embassy and the South Sydney Council and call for full co-operation in achieving a peaceful coexistence whilst the Aboriginal Tent Embassy carries

on our aims and objectives which are safeguarded by the United Nations Human Rights Instruments. The Tent Embassy believes that common sense can only prevail in this regard. For the last two mornings the Mayor of South Sydney Council and the Newtown Police had arranged meetings with representatives of the Embassy at 10 am each day. The Mayor and representatives of the Police did not show up for these meetings and this morning the Council sent a couple of minor representatives around to deliver a letter that outlined the conditions of agreement for occupation of Victoria Park. This seems unusual to us since we have been here from Friday 14 July, the 28th anniversary of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy. We are enclosing a copy of this letter.

The Embassy's responses to the conditions imposed are listed hereunder:

1. only one tent and caretakers accommodation may be set up in the 100 square meters defined by council

RESPONSE: This condition reinforces past policies and interferes with our ancient right to assemble and have a corroboree.

2. the site must be vacated within one week of the Olympics

RESPONSE: That decision will be decided at the time.

3. A maximum number of four people specifically nominated by name occupying the campsite overnight

RESPONSE: This interferes with the camp function as a community and it is not safe to have a Maximum number of 4 people.

4. the business of the campsite be only conducted during sunrise to sunset > RESPONSE: The Aboriginal Tent Embassy since its inception in 1972 as always operated on a 24 hour, 7 day a week basis.

5. No vehicles being parked in the campsite or driven on the park

RESPONSE: Interferes with supply vehicles and the function of the Embassy.

6. the campsite fire being contained within a metal drum

RESPONSE: The campfire is a ceremonial fire and the spirit of the fire cannot be imprisoned in a metal drum.

7. A porta-Loo being provided and maintained for the use of the occupants of the campsite

RESPONSE: Not applicable as the Sydney University has provided more hygienic and cleaner facilities for us to use.

8 That no public address system or amplification equipment shall be used.

RESPONSE: The Aboriginal Tent Embassy uses these facilities to get our message across and to welcome people to the site.

9 No alcohol or drugs being consumed

RESPONSE: This is Embassy Policy.

10 offensive behavior of persons not being tolerated by the campsite personnel

RESPONSE: This is Embassy Policy.

11 That the council and Minister for conservation shall be indemnified against any claims for injury to persons or damage to property arising out of such approval and such indemnity shall be expressed in the form of public risk insurance policy in the minimum amount of $10,000,000 for any individual claim

RESPONSE: This is legal jargon and has nothing whatsoever to do with Aboriginal Sovereignty.

Isabell Coe said The document from South Sydney Council reminds me of the past genocidal policies of the Aboriginal Welfare & Protection Board. And we invite all press to the meeting with South Sydney Council tomorrow morning Wednesday at 10 am.

ABC News report on Arabunna Going Home Camp

Report in responce to WMC dropping their eviction case against the camp in the Supreme Court, on Friday July 21.

This Bulletin: Sat, 29 Jul 2000 15:03 CST

LOCAL NEWS : South Australia ABC online

Protesters remain at WMC's pastoral lease

Protesters are continuing to base themselves at WMC's pastoral lease in the north of South Australia, after the company withdrew Supreme Court action to have them removed.

WMC started the action claiming that the protesters had damaged company property.

Keepers of Lake Eyre spokesman Chris Littlejohn says the camp is part of the ongoing Arabunna Going Home project, which aims to give Arabunna Aboriginal people access to their traditional lands.

He says those on-site plan to stay indefinitely.

Mr Littlejohn says as well as continuing their protest at the camp, they are also looking at applying for court costs from WMC for the case.

We feel like the camp has been legitimised, Mr Littlejohn said.

Those at camp we hope are more safe than they ever have been and there's several keepers there at the moment looking after the camp and the fire for peace that's being carried to the Sydney Olympics.