Fourteen years on, one looks back sadly at the devastation and havoc wreaked by the Intervention, with contemporary morbidity—long-term ill effects—experienced by many whom the imposed measures were supposed to heal and restore.
We were out in Gudanji country, a place some of us older people know well. But we didn’t know where we were. The river had gone, huge mountains of waste rock were piled high in the sky, blocking our view of The Barramundi Dreaming… We were lost in our own country.
The land is not only a physical space in which to live with dignity but also it is the source of Indigenous laws: indeed, mainstream representations of Indigenous territories, taking into consideration the topographic and biologic dimensions of the earth’s surface, have forgotten the pluriverse of organic and inorganic beings that make and negotiate their social living together with Indigenous peoples’ ecological and spiritual relations.
…it seems the First Nations of Australia will be left with another empty promise that governments and mining companies, together so invested in their ongoing dispossession, will act in good faith to ‘protect’ them and their heritage. Surely nobody can reasonably believe this by now.
Systematic overwriting of one form of injustice with another reiterates the claim that settler law is not on the side of the First Nations. The innate unfairness in the system begets greater injustice by weighing economic interests against Indigenous rights that are incommensurable.