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Photographer's Note

On this day 30 years ago, the Australian Government handed back the title of Uluru-Kata Tjuta to the traditional owners of the land, the Anangu people. It was then leased back to the Government for 99 years. It was a historic, and in my view, important hand-back, although I do not think it went far enough in recognising that our First Nations People never ceded this land or their sovereignty in the first place. At the time of the hand-back, there was huge opposition from conservative politicians, mining companies and other knobs. Yami Lester, the head of the management board joked in his opening address at the ceremony, "If you believe some of the talk, the Aboriginal people are going to take it away".

Australia is still living through very dark days when it comes to the treatment our First Nations Peoples. You only have to read my previous posts to understand what I mean: huge suicide stats, massive incarceration rates, deaths in custody, removal of people off their land and the destruction of remote communities, the rape and pillage of their sacred land by mining companies and a government that dumps nuclear waste on its own citizens...to name a few. But the Uluru-Kata Tjuta Handback is something to celebrate and remember through these dark times.

Here is a song called Beds Are Burning which illustrates the issue so well. The urban scenes are shot in Redfern, Sydney - where we have just spent 15 months fighting for Aboriginal housing.

Beds Are Burning by Midnight Oil

"The time has come
To say fair's fair
To pay the rent
To pay our share

The time has come
A fact's a fact
It belongs to them
Let's give it back

How can we dance when our earth is turning?
How do we sleep while our beds are burning?
How can we dance when our earth is turning?
How do we sleep while our beds are burning?"

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Additional Photos by Lisa DP (delpeoples) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5630 W: 351 N: 12436] (60288)
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