Mandate for the majority

ANY Indigenous person who claimed to speak for the vast majority of Indigenous Australians would be met with a degree of suspicion by the people they claimed to represent.

THERE is a reluctance to speak on behalf of other people’s country, family, spiritual beliefs and their political preferences.

SOME would simply refuse to respond, even if this silence is interpreted as indifference or disrespect, such as was on view on Twitter from those impatient with what they perceived as the convoluted process around Indigenous name avoidance practices, following the recent death of an Indigenous statesman.

IT takes considerable resources and expertise to achieve a mandate for a diverse population sparsely spread across a continent still in the embryonic stages of digital communications.  While technology offers capacity, it doesn’t remove the need to manage educated informed choices.

IN the case of a polarizing issue like a Treaty between Australia’s peoples, a self-appointed non-Indigenous spokesperson would need to explain how they gained the authority to speak for the vast majority of Indigenous people.

FALSE information being presented as fact are peripheral to Indigenous consciousness, and can gain traction when it occurs in forums that Indigenous people do not engage with in big numbers.

THERE is a need for healing in the Indigenous community that can’t be neatly defined or readily prescribed. Faced, or as is increasingly the case, educated with the statistics most people would expect a degree of anger from any peoples suffering the extent of disadvantage.

THAT is a common human response and manifests itself in frustration, poor health and fractured interpersonal relationships. It is disingenuous and a disservice to the Indigenous community to attempt to link anger within the Indigenous communities to a single political aspiration, and especially one such as the sovereignty and Constitutional recognition discussion.

INDIGENOUS political history is littered with the intentions of those making spurious claims that favour their support base and a conversation that is more a vent for marginalized angst than a portal to progress.

IT’S a tactic of old in Indigenous affairs and simple in its execution in the fashion of the most devastatingly effective brokers of division to suggest that someone is weak, turning their back on 200 years of resistance, and is thinking like a ‘white person’.

WITNESS emotive language and preemptive strikes as part of the tactic to shut down debate, and to strive for a space so toxic that people walk away, gives rise to the three questions the well informed advocate should welcome – who are you, who asked you to speak, and how did you achieve your mandate?


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