Jo Faith, Newtown
Australians are fully aware that this continent was stolen from First Nations people approximately 230 years ago, despite white supremacist denials. Yet ongoing genocide can be witnessed by the rise of deaths in custody and the paramilitary technologies of social control that are utilised on First Nations peoples in Australian prisons. Indeed, the social ignorance of politicians during the pandemic has been palpable, as they boast of the large supplies of pandemic injections that have been sent to regional towns where outbreaks of Delta have occurred.
They have no idea of the difficulties of travelling large distances to clinics owing to entrenched social poverty and actual unavailability of transport. Overcrowding occurs in houses owing to lack of housing for First Nations peoples.
There has been, in the North Coast region, a great shift in consciousness as Lismore City councillors voted to hand back council-owned land on the North Lismore plateau, valued at $5 million, to its traditional owners, the Widjabul-Waibal people. A great gesture revealing justice and reconciliation for all of us, Indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. The land being handed back has been identified as containing some of the most significant sacred sources within the Bundjalung nation. In the Dreaming, the North Lismore Plateau is known as the Sleeping Lizard Hill, which runs from North Lismore up to Whian Whian. The plateau contains six significant cultural sites, as well as high conservation value vegetation.
To many people in civil society one can sense that the Sleeping Lizard is now on the move. Indeed, according to Thomas Mayor, activist, educating and supporting the Uluru Statement from the Heart , he claims that any persons who desire the return of Sacred Sites to First Nations Peoples can advocate for this gesture.
As such, this letter is a call to all peoples supporting the Uluru Statement from the Heart to demand that all Sacred Sites be most urgently returned to First Nation peoples in the Bundjalung Nation.
The current Byron Shire Council does not offer visionary hope, but a fresh Council has the power to commence this urgent process. Peace and enlightenment overcomes fear, greed and social and cultural despair.