Glenda Humes is the daughter of Gunditjmara soldier Captain Reginald Saunders, the first Aboriginal man to be commissioned as an officer in the army. She joins Amy McQuire to talk about her father’s story in the lead up to ANZAC Day.
Captain Saunders followed in the footsteps of his father Chris Saunders – who fought in the first world war, and his uncle Reg Rawlings, who was awarded a Military Metal and fell in the line of duty.
Reg Saunders is now well-known and he is recognised with a gallery named after him at the Australian War Memorial. He joined the Greek Campaign in World War II, and fought in the famous Battle of 42nd street in Crete – his 2/7 battalion fought alongside a Maori Battalion. Captain Saunders was left behind when the British evacuated Crete in May 1941. He hid out among the locals, in fact I think one family in particular, and was evacuated by sea. He later served in New Guinea. In the Korean War, he led the C Company, 3rd Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment. He had been commissioned a lieutenant in 1944 and raised to the rank of captain in Korea.
But of course, like so many other stories, when Aboriginal diggers came back from the battle field, they came back to the racist country that had been stolen from them.
We discuss what happened when Aboriginal diggers came back from war, and why the nation refuses to confront the truth of the Frontier Wars.
Amy McQuire devotes the programme to the memory of Tiga Bayles, with a special poem from Steven Oliver, and reflections from Chris Graham, Archie Roach and Trevor Tim.
Legendary Aboriginal broadcaster Tiga Bayles presented the Let’s Talk programme for about 16 years. He passed away over the weekend. Amy McQuire opens up the phone line to listeners to pay tribute to the man who built up this radio station – 98.9 FM.
Also paying tribute are people like Michael Mansell, Wayne Wharton, Jan Hammill, Celeste Liddle, Lola Forester, Noel Pearson and many more.
David Williams is the Florence Sprague Norman and Laura Smart Norman Professor of Public Health at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and Professor of African and African American Studies and of Sociology at Harvard University. He is also one of the leading researchers in the world on the links between racism and health. He joined Amy McQuire in the studio.
Amy McQuire is joined in the studio by Bundjalung woman and Seed campaigner Larissa Baldwin, and New Matilda editor Chris Graham, to talk about climate change and how it specifically will hurt First Nations peoples all across the world.
Adrian Brown is a Ngunnawal man who grew up in Queanbeyan and lives in Canberra. He has had a long career in the ACT Parks and Conservation, and is passionate about the hidden black history in Canberra’s suburbs.
Lara Watson is a Murri Field Officer with the Queensland Council of Unions and joined Amy McQuire to talk about the Queensland government’s Stolen Wages Reparations Fund.
Amy McQuire speaks to Christa Big Canoe, an Anishinaabe First Nations woman from Canada, and Legal Advocacy Director of the Aboriginal Legal Services in Toronto, and Sherene Razack, a feminist scholar, a professor at the University of Toronto and author of the book ‘Dying from Improvement: Inquests and Inquiries into Indigenous Deaths in Custody.
They are currently in Australia as part of an international research project into deaths in custodies in colonial-settler societies. We discuss the similarities and differences between the two countries, the national inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada, deaths in custodies, and the dehumanisation of Aboriginal women and peoples.
Prof Pat Dudgeon is a Bardi woman from the Kimberley and the leader of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project, as well as involved with the National Empowerment Project. We spoke about the media coverage of a recent tragic suicide case, and how to report appropriately on these issues.
If you need help, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
You can find out more about the National Empowerment Project here.
Mark Moran is a professor at the University of Queensland and the author of a recent book “Serious Whitefella Stuff”, which analyses how Indigenous policy made so far away – in Canberra most of the time – applies to remote Aboriginal communities. Prof Moran has had years of experience working on the ground in many Aboriginal communities, but has a background in international development. He says an international developmental model should be a focus, rather than the service delivery approach common in Aboriginal policy.
The book delves into five communities – Kowanyama, Doomadgee, Mornington Island, Ali Curung and Mapoon. He demonstrates how in Aboriginal policy, solutions often become problems themselves – as each new programme “exacerbates the complexity of the social problem it seeks to solve”.
Luke Pearson is a Gamilaroi man, former teacher and founder of IndigenousX. IndigenousX began on Twitter, and has since expanded to a website, which publishes commentary from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across the nation.
Luke joined us to discuss a recent piece he wrote for The Guardian around the ‘invasion/settlement’ debate.
See the piece here.
Prof Jon Altman joins us from Melbourne, where he is a research professor at the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, Deakin University.
He talks to Amy McQuire about the Community Development Program (CDP). A bill aiming to experiment with a new form of the CDP in four trial sites has been introduced to parliament. But, as Prof Altman explains, there are real problems with the CDP, which is purporting to paint over the cracks left in the wake of the abolition of CDEP.
As he wrote recently in Land Rights News: “The rapid churn in experimental approaches in the last decade have left those Indigenous people participating in employment programs, the so-called ‘providers’ administrating programs, and analysts looking to evaluate their effectiveness, including the well-resourced and powerful Productivity Commission, somewhat confused.”
For more on Prof Altman’s writings, including his work around a Basic Income – click here.
Larissa Behrendt is an Eualeyai/Kamillaroi woman. She is the Professor of Law and Director of Research at the Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning at the University of Technology, Sydney. But that’s just her day job. She is also an award-winning novelist and filmmaker. Her first novel ‘Home’ won the David Unaipon Prize for unpublished Indigenous author and she followed it up with the brilliant ‘Legacy’.
She joined Amy McQuire on the programme to talk about her latest book “Finding Eliza: Power and Colonial Storytelling”. More than a decade in the making, the book debunks the white mythology built up around Eliza Fraser, who was marooned on ‘Fraser Island’ off the Queensland coast, and taken in by the Butchella people. Her story became infamous and she embellished it for profit, characterising the local mob as savages and primitive. The reality was much different. In the book, Prof Behrendt gives voices to the local Butchella people, who a very different view of Eliza… many of whom believe her story lead to the dispossession of their tribe from their traditional lands.
Prof Behrendt also talks about her recent Walkley award-nominated documentary “Innocence Betrayed”, about the continuing injustice surrounding three Aboriginal children who were murdered on Bowraville mission from 1990-1991. The families of those children are still fighting to get the alleged killer back in court.
You can find out more about Finding Eliza and where to purchase it here.
Sam Pinnell is the founder of the QLD FASD Support Group, and joined us on the programme to tell us her personal story of raising children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Ms Pinnell’s nephew, who she is raising as her own son, was diagnosed with FASD when he was a young child and Ms Pinnell set up the group to provide support to other mothers. After learning more about FASD and the effects drinking in pregnancy can have on development, she discovered that her eldest son, at 33, shared many of the same traits.
No one knows how common FASD is but a conservative estimate is that 30 babies a day are born in Australia with brain damage linked to drinking in pregnancy. Although there is a myth that one or two are ok, there is no evidence to support this. Researchers do not know how much alcohol is safe for an unborn baby, and parents are advised to stop drinking altogether.
Another source of information is the Russell Family Fetal Alcohol Disorders Association (RFFADA), which can be found here.
Summer May Finlay is a Yorta Yorta woman, public health professional and writer at Croakey’s #JustJustice campaign.
She spoke to Amy McQuire about the project, which provides socially responsible journalism on the rising Aboriginal incarceration crisis through a health perspective. The programme discusses the health impacts of locking up so many Aboriginal men, women and children, how the media plays into negative health impacts, and whether there is political will to start reversing the devastating numbers filling our jails.
Amy McQuire catches up with the latest news up to the Torres Strait with Torres News editor Aaron Smith.
This show discusses the current El Nino climate pattern and how it is affecting mob throughout the Torres Strait, the recent local government elections which saw the first female mayor of Torres Shire Council Vonda Malone elected over longtime incumbent Pedro Stephens (the first Torres Strait Mayor in local government), the latest updates on sea wall construction in six outer islands on the Torres Strait and the Recognise debate and how it is carrying out in those communities.
For more information on Torres News and for updates, see their Facebook page here.
New Matilda editor Chris Graham joins Let’s Talk in studio where we discuss the latest stories including a true crime writer who claimed in a recent book that a ‘typical Aboriginal’ is a violent, thieving, rapist, murderer.
We also discuss the issue of Aboriginal representation in politics, First Nations journalist Stan Grant (who is considering a career in politics), and New Matilda’s reportage of Palestine.
Chris is currently running a crowdfunding campaign to support his trip to Palestine in May. You can donate or find out more here.
Jharal Yow Yeh and Dan Rennie talking sports on the 98.9fm Breakfast Show
The inquest into the death in custody of 22-year-old Yamitji woman Ms Dhu recommenced this week. It began in November last year. This week the coroner heard from a number of police witnesses. There were 11 officers in the chain of command from Ms Dhu’s incarceration to her death only a few days later.
Ms Dhu was locked up on a warrant for over $3600 in unpaid fines. Amy McQuire speaks to the Guardian’s Calla Wahlquist, human rights lawyer George Newhouse, and Ms Dhu’s uncle Shaun Harris, to give us an update on the case.
For more, please see Calla’s reporting here.
Arrentre writer, feminist and unionist Celeste Liddle joined Amy McQuire on the programme to discuss the recent controversy after she was banned from Facebook six times for sharing an article depicting topless desert women conducting ceremony. Facebook deemed the image in breach of it’s nudity clause and labelled it offensive.
In this interview, Celeste discusses how Aboriginal women have been denigrated for centuries and talks about how mainstream feminism must learn to grapple with the unique struggles facing First Nations women.
Check out Celeste’s original article at New Matilda here.