Monday, July 16, 2007

Kanyini - Some Thoughts on Intervention in Northern Territory Aboriginal Communities

Last night at Space For God we watched "Kanyini". Literally translated "interconnectness", Kanyini is the story of the search for Aboriginal identity in contemporary society. Narrated by local Aboriginal man Bob Randall, the film seeks to explore how it is that indigenous Australians have been systematically stripped of everything that made them feel connected to their roots, as well as why it is that they face such a chronic struggle to meaningfully connect to the world in which they now find themselves.

Though the film was produced last year, Kanyini has taken on new relevance in the context of the current intervention by the Federal government. Not surprisingly, the issue provoked quite animated discussion in the time of conversation after the film. In particular, there were real concerns that the current action wouldn't solve the underlying structual issues and that the approach may actually serve to be counterproductive.

While I think it is good to be able to make constructive criticisms of current government policy, it is much more productive to suggest possible solutions to the endemic problems we currently face. Clearly we need to be people of protest, but at the same time we need to be actively promoting workable solutions that will serve to empower the Aboriginal population, both individually and communally. Protest without praxis may justifiably incur the criticism that we care more about scoring political points than the actual people that this issue impacts. So with that in mind, I open the floor to invite people to talk about what concrete things we can do individually and as a community to be part of the solution and not simply people who can identify the problems.

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