Dear Amethyst Ameila aka Iggy Azaela
Let me start by stating at this stage you will be completely unaware of who I am, However you and I aren’t that different. As a matter of fact we’re both females, making great achievements in our chosen fields, a few months apart in age and Australian born.
What you don’t know is I am also a mother of 3 young children, I hold a double diploma, I’ve established a small business back here in Australia and I just so happen to be of ABORIGINAL heritage.
Before I get into detail i’l commend you on your achievements, it’s not everyday an Australian female rapper cracks the toughest pop chart in the world, ranking simultaneously first and second, joining record books alongside the Beatles. For that I congratulate you.
Now I wish to address your not so brilliant remarks regarding Aboriginal Australian and our civilisation status (or lack there of according to comments). I’ve watched your interview with ’Sway in the Morning’ (Click here to view) a number of times, at first I was frankly pissed off, your comments are completely misleading. I understand you were put on the stop, you’ve been in America since you were 16yrs of age and you lack an understanding of issues which obviously don’t affect you.
As you said 'There are a lot of Australians who have an unfair stero-type about Aboriginal People' - This I completely agree with and this is exactly where you should have left it. Instead you chose to continue on with details you knew nothing about.
Firstly I couldn’t believe the words came out of your mouth when stating 'They (Aboriginal) People don't believe in living in an enclosed structure like a house' - WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? Our elders built shelters, they lived in huts, they didn’t simply ‘Sleep under the stars’. You realise had they done this they would have been exposed to wild animals and insect bites which could have caused all kinds of problems.
We also don’t receive 'government houses to smash up' those western civilised government houses you speak of are known as Public housing properties. Some are titled ‘Aboriginal Housing’, they are still apart of the Public housing sector however a small amount are allocated specifically to those who are Aboriginal in order to support struggling families. - This type of confusion also happens when ignorant Australians think Aboriginal people are entitled to all kinds of Welfare payments and free cars. If that was the case, Where is my house to smash up and free car? Lets get serious people its the 21century. Welfare is welfare black or white. The government sector labels these things differently ‘Aboriginal Housing’ and ‘Public Housing’ or Abstudy and AusStudy at the end of the day it’s still THE SAME THING!
Ignorance is bliss right so allow me to educate you just a little on Aboriginal People, MY PEOPLE and OUR CULTURE.
We have a rich culture which dates back over 40,000years, a vast land that always was and always will be Aboriginal Land. There is great diversity among aboriginal people, with thousands of tribes across the country, customs and languages specifically suited to each, we are not all the same and can not be painted with the same brush. Past Aboriginal People mainly lived as hunters and gatherers, living off the land in order to survive. Tribes moved locations due to changing seasons and available food, shelter or resources.
Our people have a belief in the Dreamtime with spiritual connections. The dreamtime stretches back into the distant past while connecting with our present and future. We also have many forms of traditional art work, weaving, dance and music. These often came together when a corroboree was to be held.
During European settlement our people were subject to horrendous conditions, including that of slavery, rape and murder. We have since come a long way thanks to our elders both past and present who continue to fight for equal rights similar to that of the black panthers movement I’m sure you are familiar with.
It wasn’t until 1962 Aboriginal People were given the right to vote in commonwealth elections. In 1965 a group of students from the University of Sydney organised a bus tour of costal New South Wales to raise awareness of health and living conditions. This is now known as the Freedom ride also used to highlight social discrimination. In 1967 a referendum was held to allow the government to make laws with respect to Aboriginal People and to include Aboriginal people when the country does a count or votes to determine electoral representation. In 1971 Neville Bonner became the first Aboriginal Australian in Federal parliament a year later the tent embassy was set up on the steps of Parliament house in Canberra.
We also have a number of high achieving sports people who act as role models for younger Aboriginal Australians. In 1971 Evonne Googlagong-Cawley became the world number one ranked tennis player. 1973 Arthur Beetson became the first Aboriginal Australian to Captain any sport when he lead the Australian Rugby League team. 1982 Mark Ella became the Captin of The Wallabies the Australian Rugby Union team. In 2000 Cathy Freeman lit the Sydney Olympic flame and went on to win the 400metres. There are now currently many outstanding sports people, lawyers, authors, journalists, doctors and performers etc who guide and inspire our younger generations.
Some historical land claims have also occurred. In 1985 the government returned Ayers Rock which is traditional known as Uluru to the original owners of that land and in 1992 the high court of Australia handed down its decision in the Mabo case declaring the first land rights which has opened the doors for many more opportunities to rightfully and respectfully take ownership of what is Aboriginal property.
We have come so far, yet we have so much further to go.
- We are currently still fighting the war on racism
- We are not recognised in the Australian Constitution
- We have an expected death rate 10years lower then that of a non-Aboriginal Australian
- We currently represent 3% of Australia but take 28% of the jail population.
- We are 60% more likely to be behind when starting school
- We are 34.6% less likely to be employed when graduating
- We have a 63% lower employee salary opposed to those at the same level
Iggy this is just touching the surface, there is much more I am still yet to be educated on myself, so in future I ask you to THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK! Remember where you came from and really understand the history of the land and its original people, its ABORIGINAL people. Better yet I challenge you on your next visit to Australia to do as I have done and go into the local communities. Meet with Aboriginal people, you may be pleasantly surprised, I can guarantee you will learn an enormous amount about our people, our culture, our way of life and even more so YOURSELF just as I have.
(An Aboriginal Woman of the Wiradjuri Tribe).
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