Linkfest: Cultures ‘n’ Vultures edition

The Age has this opinion piece by Claire Smith: “The Aboriginal intervention policy is failing”. Smith is an associate professor in archaeology at Flinders University, has worked with Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory for almost 20 years, and is involved in Women for Wik. She opens:

I was supposed to go to the funeral of a young Aboriginal man from a remote community yesterday. He killed himself just a month ago and I’m close to his family “” culture-way I call him “grandson” “” but I didn’t go. There are just too many funerals to be able to attend them all. Where I work, there is a queue of people to be buried. When this young man died, he had to wait in line to be buried “” an elderly lady, a middle-aged woman, and a 14-year-old girl (also a suicide victim) were scheduled before him.

The death of this young man is nothing new to this community. It is new to the family, but such tragic events happen regularly in the community. At one point, we had 31 young people attempt suicide in the space of eight months “” 8 per cent of the population of 452 people.


Native Unity has the text of the Canadian statement on their rejection of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. It includes:

Canada’s position has remained consistent and principled. We have stated publicly that we have significant concerns with the wording of provisions of the Declaration such as those on: lands, territories and resources; free, prior and informed consent when used as a veto; self-government without recognition of the importance of negotiations; intellectual property; militaryissues; and the need to achieve an appropriate balance between the rights and obligations of indigenous peoples, member States and third parties.


The ABC News piece:“Funding the key for closing Indigenous health gap” discusses “Close The Gap” day. Aboriginal organisations are combining in a national day aimed at raising awareness of the 17 year life expectancy gap between Aboriginal people and white people in Australia, and to get solutions happening. At least $460 million is needed as soon as possible just to start providing adequate primary health care. This is more than four times the amount currently pledged to improving NT health care. You can read the full NACCHO statement here (NACCHO = National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation.) Key points include noting that the response to the Little Children Are Sacred report has completely ignored the recommendations of the report, particularly the recommendation for community consultation.

Today we are providing each Parliamentarian with the Health Equity Plan which is an evidence-based costed series of interventions that will close the life expectancy gap.

The Health Equity Plan consists of 8 Goals”

* Increased core funding of culturally appropriate primary health care to help bridge the gap in health standards;

* An increase in the number, effectiveness and training of health practitioners working within Aboriginal health settings and build capacity of the Indigenous health workforce;

* Improvement in the responsiveness of mainstream health services and programs to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Needs;

* Implementation of a Strategic Maternal and Child Health Plan;

* Provision of greater support for Indigenous-specific population programmes for chronic and communicable disease;

* Increased funding and support for health promotion regarding nutrition, physical activity, fresh food, and healthy lifestyles;

* Increased funding and support for adequate housing and environmental health;

* The utilisation of existing and new indicators to monitor the right to health.


The New York Times has a piece on language death entitled “World’s Languages Dying Off Rapidly”.

New research, reported today, has identified the five regions of the world where languages are disappearing most rapidly. The “hot spots” of imminent language extinctions are: Northern Australia, Central South America, North America’s upper Pacific coastal zone, Eastern Siberia and Oklahoma and Southwest United States.

In Australia, where nearly all of the 231 spoken aboriginal tongues are endangered, the researchers came upon such tiny language communities as the three known speakers of Magati Ke, in the Northern Territory, and the three Yawuru speakers, in Western Australia. In July, Dr. Anderson said, they met the sole living speaker of Amurdag, a language in the Northern Territory that had already been declared extinct.

“This is probably one language that cannot be brought back, but at least we made a record of it,” Dr. Anderson said, noting that the Amurdag speaker strained to recall words he had last heard from his late father.


Denver Post brings us “Zoo’s baby vulture horribly cute”. Denver Zoo keepers have been hand raising a baby Eurasian Black Vulture. But how to stop the baby bonding with humans?

Keepers had to get sneaky. In order to keep the bird from associating humans with food, it was fed via a hand puppet made to look like an adult vulture.

A vulture who bonds with a human being won’t grow up to be well-adjusted, so zookeepers wore a cloth mask during feedings so the young bird could not see their faces and imprint on them.

Categories: culture wars, fun & hobbies, health, indigenous, language, Politics, social justice

Tags: , , , , , ,

1 reply

  1. damn, is that baby vulture cuuuuuuute.

%d bloggers like this: