The state of Vitória will conduct the first research in Australia to analyze the effects of colonization on the indigenous people. One of the aspects to be examined is the effects of the dispossession and genocide of the local population during the British occupation, as well as the persistent injustices.
This Tuesday the Yoo-rroock Judicial Commission was announced, the name of which was inspired by the word “truth” from the Wemba Wemba / Wamba Wamba indigenous group, which is an integral part of an ongoing historical process. This is the first commission to receive royal commission privileges.
“We are 233 years too late,” says the joint statement by the state and several indigenous leaders: “233 years of violence, expropriation and deprivation, 233 years of deliberate silence. Today we are determined to tell the truth.”
“Our ancestors were victims of genocide and massacres,” condemned Aunt Geraldine Atkinson, a member of the Bangerang and Wiradjuri indigenous groups, adding that the process will only “bring the majority of the community closer together to understand the effects of the past.” Injustices and the trauma that our young people face and that is passed on from generation to generation ”. Atkinson believes the process will be painful but necessary.
Between 1836 and 1856, thousands of indigenous people were massacred by settlers who settled in Vitória state. This was the result of a study by the Koorie Heritage Trust, a non-profit indigenous cultural organization.
The Australian edition of the British daily The Guardian states that there is data on massacres between 1788 and 1928. This is the result of a research carried out with the University of Newcastle that has an interactive page listing several massacres in the country.
James Merlino, number two in the provincial government of Vitória, says the investigation is forcing the population “to face our past and that” without truth or justice “there can be no” reconciliation for all Victorians. ” Aboriginal Victorians after 233 years are still in much worse conditions than non-Aboriginal Victorians, “he concludes.
The announcement of the investigation was well received by the Aboriginal clans, representing 3% of the Australian population, who called for a Justice and Truth Commission as a necessary element of Aboriginal-non-Aboriginal negotiation.
In 2017, an equally unprecedented proposal was tabled, known as the Declaration of the Heart of Uluru, which proposed a constitutional reform involving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islands groups with a similar aim of opening the negotiation. However, the proposal had no effect.
The trial was marked in July 2020 and, according to local media, is inspired by Nelson Mandela’s survey on apartheid in South Africa and other investigations in Canada and New Zealand. The hearings are due to start this year and an internal report will be presented in a year.