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Canberra New Way Summit - Day 1 Report

Aboriginal Nations should make inter-nation treaties in sovereignty quest
Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Australia)

Canberra, 30th January 2010

New Way Summit

The hundreds of Aboriginal nations in Australia should start making treaties with each other in a process leading ultimately to full sovereignty, former barrister Paul Coe told a meeting here of Aboriginal Elders and young people.

Mr Coe's advice to the summit was that Aboriginal people need to learn what sovereignty is.

He noted there are two forms of sovereignty that Aboriginal people must examine. The first is whether they want to be domestic sovereign nations, that is a state within the Australian Commonwealth or, secondly, to become a confederacy of Aboriginal nations recognised in international law.

The summit of about one hundred people from across the continent heard a lot of raw pain and anger on various issues, from continuing deaths in custody to the Northern Territory intervention.

The conference was told by the convenor, Michael Anderson, that we need to become proactive and not just talk about government controls but wrest control away from the government.

The summit heard people say that Aboriginal independence has been usurped by state controlled welfare slavery. The summit acknowledged that drug and alcohol dependency is symptomatic of oppressed Peoples.

The conference also heard that we must address the high incarceration rate that Aboriginal adults and youth suffer across this country. Human rights defenders reported how Aboriginal Legal Services are being starved of funding and are being referred to as Aboriginal Lock-up Services.

The Ambassador of revolutionary Venezuela, Mr Nelson Davila-Lameda, spoke of the strong rights given his country’s Indigenous Peoples since President Hugo Chavez came to power, for example, they have secure representation in the national parliament. He pledged Venezuelan support for the Aboriginal sovereignty pursued in international forums.

The New Way Summit continues on Sunday 31st and Monday 1st. It will set an agenda for the way forward. “One key suggestion is to send an Aboriginal delegation to Britain to claim restitution and reparations for the violations since British colonial occupation,” summit convenor Michael Anderson said.

Proceedings at the summit can be followed live on the internet at www.wgar.info.

Contact: Michael Anderson 0427 292 492

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WGAR: Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Australia)