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Deusdedit Ruhangariyo
Special to ICT

Around the world: An Indigenous-led program in Australia is helping First Nations people into homewnership, Indigenous youth in Montreal blend traditions and contemporary art, Traditional Owners take the Australian government to court over a proposed nuclear dump site, an international Indigenous duet brings powwow-goers to tears, and a record number of Aboriginal candidates have been elected to Australia’s Parliament.

AUSTRALIA: Helping First Nations people own homes

Jub Clerc, a Yawuru woman who never thought she’d own her own home, is now a proud homeowner thanks to an Indigenous-led program that is helping First Nations people, National Indigenous Times reported on June 2.

The program, named Jalbi Jiya, which in the Yawuru language means Your Home, according to National Indigenous Times.


Clerc used a “rent-until-you-buy” plan that allows her to get access to a home.

“We got to select our top three choices out of a variety of apartments and when our names were called from the ballot we were over the moon,” she said, according to NIT. “It was very emotional ... It gave us a sense of our home and neighborhood before making a life decision and we love where we live.”

Clerc’s family is the third to own a home through the Jalbi Jiya program, which works to support Aboriginal people.

CANADA: Exhibit blends traditions, contemporary art

An art exhibition by First Nations and Inuit artists at Montreal’s Botanical Garden merges traditions with contemporary art, CBC News reported on June 1.

The exhibit, “We are still here,” opened May 29 and continues through June 5 in celebration of Indigenous History Month in Canada.

The youth council of Native Montreal organized the symposium.

"The whole theme is actually resiliency, and this exhibit is the perfect way to show that Indigenous youth are thriving and that we are still carrying on our traditions in the modern and contemporary world," Johnny Boivin, Innu/Atikamekw, told CBC News.

"Some of the mediums used are more contemporary, but there's still the traditional aspect to it, like the beadwork and the images that are represented on some of the paintings," Boivin said.

Boivin came up with an idea of seven small rings, each a different color and partly covered in hides, with strings of beads flowing down.

“The first six ones are representing the six years in which [Canadian Prime Minister] Justin Trudeau was supposed to end all boiling advisories in [Indigenous] communities,” Boivin told CBC News. “But he failed to do it, so the last one is representing this broken promise."

AUSTRALIA: Traditional Owners file suit over nuclear dump

Traditional Owners with the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation have taken the Australian government to court in an attempt to block a nuclear waste dump in South Australia, National Indigenous Times reported on June 2.

The legal action, launched in December, is seeking to overturn the coalition government’s decision to develop the site. In a June 1 letter to the new Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, the owners say the previous government refused their right to put support for the site to an election.

“The Barngarla people unequivocally make it clear that we request that the new Labor minister revoke the declaration or consent to the orders quashing the declaration,” the group said, according to NIT.

The Barngarla’s legal action is set to resume in federal court on June 15.

CANADA: Senegalese-Inuit duet brings tears

An impromptu duet that combined traditional music from Senegal and the Inuit people brought tears to the crowd at the Kanesatake land-back powwow in Quebec, CBC News reported on June 1.

Singer Bamba Diaw from Senegal and performer Nina Segalowitz, Inuvialuit-Dene, were strangers until a chance meeting in Victoria opened the door for the performance, which featured his traditional Senegalese music and her Inuit throat singing, according to CBC News.

"It was so powerful and moving. It was like being in two different worlds," said powwow organizer Alan Harrington of the First Nations Shoal Lake #39.

Diaw, who moved to Canada in 2016, said he wants to build a bridge between Indigenous people of North America and Africa. He said both have been harshly impacted by colonization and face unjust stereotypes.

"Together we are stronger, and we can help each other show how beautiful Indigenous people are," he said, according to CBC News.

AUSTRALIA: New Parliament most diverse ever

A record number of diverse parliamentarians was sworn in as the new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese ended the Coalition Party’s decade in power, National Indigenous Television reported May 23.

The recent election made the 47th Parliament the nation's most diverse, with 10 First Nations politicians in the two houses combined.

A Wiradjuri woman, Linda Burney, won the seat of Barton to the House of Representatives and is also minister for families and social services – the first Aboriginal woman to hold the position.

She was joined by incoming Marion Scrymgour, who won the Northern Territory seat of Lingiari, and Dr. Gordon Reid, who took the New South Wales seat of Robertson.

Final thoughts

My final thoughts are with the Traditional Owners of the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation, who have taken the federal government to court in a legal action intended to stop a proposed nuclear dumpsite in South Australia. They said the government denied them their right to be consulted about the dump. I hope the law will be fair to them.

And lastly, let me share Article 41 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Article 41
The organs and specialized agencies of the United Nations system and other intergovernmental organizations shall contribute to the full realization of the provisions of this Declaration through the mobilization, inter alia, of financial cooperation and technical assistance. Ways and means of ensuring participation of Indigenous peoples on issues affecting them shall be established.

Global Indigenous is a weekly news roundup published every Wednesday by Indian Country Today with some of the key stories about Indigenous peoples around the world.

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