A History that spans almost 50,000 years, and peoples that merged together to get a single identity retaining their distinctness. In Australia, the Aboriginal communities have fought and struggled to have a voice, to claim their space. The struggle continues, even as the country zooms towards development, innovation and contributing to saving the planet, it hesitates to let the indigenous people hold their flag high.
Alice Springs. On Anzac Hill. The Aboriginal people raise their flag proudly to mark NAIDOC Week. They know the flag with sway in glory for the week. It will have to be taken down as the week ends. Anzac Hill is a sacred site and a military memorial also known as Untyeyetwelye to the Arrernte people. The local Aboriginal population of the place wants the flag erected through the year. It has taken supporters 14 years to get permission from the council to let the flag fly on ceremonial occasions only. The matter came under a lot of scrutiny and debate and get racial flak.
Locals Arrernte supporters like Patricia Ansell Dodds, whose father fought in World War II, believes having a day in the sun is not enough to celebrate the culture and sacrifices made by the people. “This has to recognize us … it should be permanent, because a lot of these old men from this area, they went to wars,” she said. With half the battle won, the supporters will continue to rally for the site to be a permanent place for the ever-flying flag.
The council has not given assent for this motion. They uphold the occasional raising of the Aboriginal flag. The deliberation continues…