BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY
Gary Foley Martyrs in The Struggle for Justice
"As Kooris, we need to be ever vigilant to the subtle undermining of our cultural values - values such as non-materialism, humanitarianism, compassion and the belief that the group is more important than the individual." Gary Foley said on his website, "These and other Koori ideas such as the proposition that living things might be more important than material wealth have always been considered subversive by non-Koori Australian society." Gary Fokey - from: Assimilating the Mabo-Jumbo
Assimilating the Mabo-Jumbo
Australian Indigenous Martyrs
Martyrs in The Struggle for Justice
Gary Foley www.kooriweb.org/foley 27th June 1993
The recent hysteria that has engulfed society in the form of the Mabo mass debate, has led me to ponder the nature of relations between Koori and non-Koori peoples in this country. Why is it that after almost hree decades of an army of Kooris trying to communicate with non-Koori Australia in thousands of classrooms, books, TV shows, Royal Commissions, rock'n'roll concerts, and football matches, we seem to have failed miserably in our quest to educate Non-Kooris to understand us basically as people?
It's not as if Australians lack the capacity to understand and absorb another culture. Just talk to any average Australian teenager for five minutes and you will quickly realise how easily and totally Australia is becoming assimilated into the culture of the United States of America.
This Americanisation of Australia's youth is viewed with increasing concern by many non-Koori Australian parents, and yet these same good people who see the evil of cultural imperialism clearly when it relates to the USA and their own white middle-class Aussie kids, claim to not comprehend the same principle when we apply it to our situation as Kooris.
As Kooris, we need to be ever vigilant to the subtle undermining of our cultural values - values such as non-materialism, humanitarianism, compassion and the belief that the group is more important than the individual. These and other Koori ideas such as the proposition that living things might be more important than material wealth have always been considered subversive by non-Koori Australian society.
Failure to comprehend that Kooris are not white people with a black skin has meant that Kooris have been subjected to many decades of imposed, enforced attempts to assimilate us into "white" Australia. It was always thought to be the best way of handling the "Abo problem". Of course Kooris were never asked their opinion unless they were already successfully assimilated, in which case they were held up as examples for the white community to admire and the black community to aspire to.
But the old overt Assimilation Policy of the past has never gone away. It has rather lurked in the sentiments and actions of powerful, behind the scene bureaucracy power brokers in Canberra for 25 years. Today the threat it poses to our Aboriginality and thus our spiritual survival in the Australia of tomorrow, concerns many Koori Australians more than the pseudo-debate over Mabo.
In "white" Australia today the free enterprise system with its attendant values, attitudes and myths, prevails. Any person expressing doubt in the fundamental tenets of the system is dismissed or marginalised.
A free-enterprise society exists on the assumption that all human beings are essentially motivated, as individuals, by a desire for wealth and material possessions.