Media Release: Grandmothers’ vigil calls for justice for kids- from racist ‘vigilante’ attacks to youth prisons
Mparntwe (Alice Springs) 30th October 2017
photos, vision and audio available on request.
On Friday night 27th of October there was a vigil on the council lawns calling for “kids in country not in custody”. The vigil comes in the wake of racist vigilante attacks on indigenous children in Alice Springs (MR 25 Oct 2017) and in the lead up to the handing down of the final report of the Royal Commission into Youth Detention and Child Protection in the NT on the 17th November.
The Grandmothers Group, Rosalie Kunoth Monks OAM and Traditional Owners for Mparntwe spoke as 40 people gathered to remember kids still locked inside Don Dale and youth prisons nationwide as well as the recent targeted attacks on children in Alice Springs. The vigil was supported in collaboration by Shut Youth Prisons Mparntwe, Amnesty International and Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service (CAALAS).
“Arrernte people belong here to Alice Springs. Kids need to walk around like their ancestors did on their country- This is their traditional country! We won’t tollerate that behaviour from these people that treat our youths like that. No its not on! That’s not how we discipline our children! We discipline our children with respect we tell them whats right from wrong. And I don’t see any gap closing here.” said Sabella Kngwarraye, a concerned grandmother and traditional owner for Mparntwe
“Whether we like it or not there is politics involved in human lives. We do not want to be angry old women, we want to be loving grandmothers, great-grandmothers, and mothers to our children. We want to live a life of joy . We want to see our town reflect that. We have the opportunity of being one of the best towns in race relations because we grew up with that I grew up with that and my children I want them to have that and my grandchildren and later on my great grandchildren.” said Rosalie Kunoth-Monks OAM, a concerned grandmother
There were calls for greater public support from Aboriginal organisations in Mparntwe in the lead up to the Royal Commissions Final Report.
“The Aboriginal economy keeps this town alive why can’t they line up here? It is an issue that aboriginal organisations should support us in.” said Kumalie Riley, a concerned grandmother
“This can’t go on. These are kids they should be protected by law, but there are people going around, thinking they are taking the law into their own hands and bashing our kids. The only way we are going to stop this is if we all stand as one.” said Trephina, a concerned grandmother
The Grandmothers Group made a statement, read by the Kngwarraye sisters, which is attached below.
GRANDMOTHERS’ GROUP – Friday 27 th October, 2017.
The Grandmother’s Group calls upon Michael Gunner, the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory to listen to us.
The Grandmothers’ Group was set up to stop Youth Detention and to support Aboriginal Deaths in Custody which has now grown to include support for families dealing with youth suicide and for children and youth experiencing violence on the streets, communities and in detention.
The Grandmothers’ Group calls upon the Grandfathers and Families to work with us to help all our children and youth in need and to stop the violence against our children and youth on the streets, on the communities and in detention.
As Aboriginal Families, we care for all our children and youth and we want the government to acknowledge us and listen to us about the care and protection of children and youth.
As Aboriginal Families we can work together with others in the community to improve the care and protection of our children and youth by making safe places for them on their homelands and to be in the care and guardianship of their Families.
As Aboriginal Families, we support better management of culturally appropriate diversionary programs to be based throughout the region for Aboriginal children and youth.
We support the healing and wellbeing of all our children and youth by teaching them about respect for themselves, for their elders and families, for others in the community and for their homeland.
We want to teach them about their language and culture and to learn about the dreaming of their country and to learn how to listen to the songs and to dance like their elders and ancestors.
We support their growth and development in life and want to teach them about their traditional roles and responsibilities with good behaviour and attitude in life.
We want to secure better opportunities in schooling, employment and training and in academic and career pathways for our children and youth and for them
to achieve in life and to be happy as the future generations of Aboriginal managers and carers for our homelands.
The Grandmothers Group would like to thank all those of you who supported our cause by sharing your knowledge and skills and time and for standing by us.