Hi everyone and sorry for not many updates coming from the walk this year, but its been really busy and exciting and we will post some more updates over the next week..
Massive thanks to Aunty Lizzy, Aunty Shirley and Vicky who led the Walkatjurra Walkabout through Country this year. The three of them are local Traditional Owners and are the ones participating in the Supreme court action launched together with the CCWA and the EDO to stop the Yeelirrie mine from going ahead.
There is a lot of support for this action against the previous Governments decision to approve Yeelirrie and now with the Court date set for the 14th of November we really need your help to get the funds together..
Below is an update from Tim and more coming soon 😉
It’s late, almost midnight. I’m still 150km from Perth and still without phone or radio signal.
I’ve had a long time to reflect on the week I’ve just had and already, I miss the desert. I miss the red dirt that gets into every crevice and onto every surface. I miss the spinifex needles that always seem to find that one bare patch of skin. I even miss the goona (?) pit, and its contemplative ambience (I actually miss that a lot!).
But most of all I miss the people. The sense of community and solidarity amongst everyone in the group, including those who were there for different personal reasons, was absolutely magic.
As I had nothing better to do as I drove, I put on the first episode of a podcast a friend had recommended. It detailed the life story of Glenn Loury, an African-American racial justice commentator and former Advisor to President Reagan, famous for criticising the civil rights movement in the United States in a post-Martin-Luther-King-world and more recently, racial justice movements such as the ‘Black Lives Matter’ campaign. It piqued my interest, given where I had just come from.
Loury argues that the tactics of direct activism offend necessary political allies, eroding the goodwill of those who might otherwise champion the cause in a legislative context, and that structural racism is not the root cause of systemic brutality.
Whilst I’d agree it might be a stretch to claim that structural racism is the only root cause, the validity of Loury’s arguments to my experience on the Walkabout, and more broadly over the last few years, is negligible. Structural racism is systemic in Australia, and defines so many different issues. Similarly, persistent direct activism is often the only way to achieve a tangible outcome.
I was simply blown away listening to the stories of Marcus, Bilbo, Kid and many others around the campfire and the blockades, walks, runs and movements they have been a part of over the years. Inspirational stories about Yami Lester and Kevin Buzzacott, about epic peace walks spanning multiple countries, about Standing Rock and First Nations people in the United States and Canada, about reclaiming the Australian Coat of Arms and running, so much running.
These people and these campaigns have achieved so much. It doesn’t offend ‘necessary political allies’ to stand up for what you believe in, it offends the memory of all these people and their achievements to diminish what they fought so hard to protect.
The Walkatjurra Walkabout, even viewed as one small part of the broader Anti-Uranium movement that has spanned decades throughout Australia, is critical. More than that, it is simply one of the best experiences I have had for a long time. In just one short week I learnt so much and met so many new, wonderful people. I am blown away by the positive energy leaving camp has left me with, and I can’t wait to get back out on country!