Putting Reconciliation Week in context: Lest We Forget Queensland Genocide

Reconciliation Week runs annually from 27 May, the anniversary of the 1967 Referendum, to 3 June, the anniversary of the Mabo decision in 1992. The theme for this year is ‘Let’s take the next steps’, which is appropriate, given the Uluru Statement.

Honest History has collected a few resources relevant to the events at Uluru, mainly wrap-ups and comments. It recognises that a lot more could be said.

We also posted Alison Atkinson-Phillips’ article on the Colebrook ‘Stolen Generations’ Home in South Australia and Timothy Bottoms’ revised prologue to his 2013 book, Conspiracy of Silence. In this piece, Bottoms applies a genocide template to the treatment of Indigenous Australians in colonial Queensland. Elsewhere, Raymond Evans and Robert Ørsted-Jensen calculate that there could have been 65 000 Indigenous deaths in Queensland (alone) at the hands of settlers and police. The Bottoms post also has links to other material on the Honest History site and elsewhere.

Timothy Bottoms has now provided (link below) images and captions relevant to what happened in Queensland and they are reproduced below. We thank him for his generosity.

The pictures and words help remind us that those journeying from Uluru – Indigenous and settler – carry a lot of baggage. ‘Makaratta’, the word used in the Uluru Statement, is Yolngu for ‘the coming together after a struggle’. What Bottoms (and Connor, and Daley, and McQueen, and Reynolds, and others, and Indigenous storytellers of many names) describe is part of that struggle. To repeat a key paragraph from Bottoms’ book:

No Australian today is responsible for what happened on our colonial frontier. But we are responsible for not acknowledging what happened. If we do not, our integrity as a nation is flawed …

David Stephens

A portfolio of illustrations to accompany the revised  prologue to Conspiracy of Silence (2013) by Timothy Bottoms

 

 

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