Terry – listen darky, fuck off back to Singapore (Sorry, it’s just that Roland keeps telling me I’ll go to heaven for being so bloody nice about everything and seeing as you are pretty close to calling me a racist I thought I’d really give you some ammunition – now stop taking our jobs!!!).
Yes, there is a great problem with notions of the ‘noble savage’. They are patronising, paternalistic and tend to over look problems within the culture you are talking about. Its power is to be equally racist despite what are often good intentions. Perhaps the stolen generation suffered this fate.
When I talk about self determination and land rights for indigenous Australia it is not so much a case of privileging one culture over another – unless you are talking about a very ‘liberal’ equal playing field where everyone can achieve the great dream of upward social mobility if only you got off your arse. I don’t buy that and I don’t think you do. What I am doing is acknowledging a few very important points. Firstly the Australian Aborigines where here first. We have systematically destroyed every aspect of their existence. They therefore deserve special recognition and various other things. Secondly they are the most disadvantaged group of people in Australian society and this is the direct effect of point one. Thirdly it is accommodating of some particular needs that are specific to the Aborigines and I believe we should be as accommodating as possible of these sorts of things – providing they do not impinge on the liberties of others.
With all these things in mind the only way to achieve them is through land rights and self determination. It is my understanding that these are the demands of our indigenous population.
If you are referring to my point about knowledge systems then I think you have misunderstood me – this is my fault. My blog is about the revolution I’d like to see and hope is happening. This requires a new knowledge system to create a new modernity/epoch.
Indigenous knowledge systems are, almost coincidentally, very close to the ideas that I think we should be organising our society around. This does not mean reverting back to a nomadic life style. It is more about an understanding of the land and how we are a part of it and a decentralised, reasonably non-hierarchical organisational structure. There is much variation between different Aboriginal groups in Australia and many of their practices and beliefs are not something I think that all of Australia should accommodate. This is not to say that they can’t or shouldn’t. A trivial example would be corporal punishment. I can’t advocate spearing someone in the leg because they slept with my wife (although if I had a wife I’m should that is what I’d like to do).
I have arrived at these conclusions through highly ‘western’ train of thought. It is almost coincidental that I have arrived at these conclusions. I don’t think I should be not using them for fear of glamorising indigenous Australia.