Cairns Indigenous Arts Fair

ABC TV The Mix this weekend reviewed the above festival, made infamous this week when an indigenous elder very prominently expelled Pauline Hansen from the premises. He told her loudly that previously in her political career she had complained that indigenous people were living unfairly off govt largesse.

The fair was spectacular; it was multi faceted: visuals, dancing, a fashion parade, coinciding with international events. Each of the segments of the fair gave one hope; clearly the event has been held for quite some years; it has already given indigenous people a source of pride.

My niece works in the area as a social worker; her father found out some time ago on the death of his grandfather that he had quietly escaped from a camp in Victoria where the govt was keeping the local indigenous population safely apart from the rest of us. Like a number of similar indigenous folk he quietly made a life among the larger population in a way not possible inside a camp. This type of integration exposed him to the accusation of being a “white” would-be aboriginal, a label frequently voiced in Tasmania.

This fair points the way to a cultural solution necessary in Australia, of combining different strands, not just Anglo and Indigenous but all the communities that have come here, for instance the Methodist Swahili community in Shepparton, Victoria. All have much to offer.

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About anton veenstra

tapestry weaver, fibre artist, gay/qr activist, multiculturalist
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One Response to Cairns Indigenous Arts Fair

  1. anton veenstra says:

    My interpretation of Hansen’s smug smile is that getting the indigenous elder all riled up is the equivalent of proving that he is “hysterical” and “unstable”, which is what the unfeeling majority like to do. Wilcox’s cartoon in today’s SMH has Hansen saying “feelings get in the way of facts”.

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