Happy Mabo Day, June 3rd
Today commemorates the successful High Court victory in Australia by Eddie Koiki Mabo and the Mer people against the legal fiction of ‘terra nullius’, which has allowed all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to have their land taken, regardless of how distant in time and space from Sydney the first settlement of the English was. The logic would be similar to a group of people landing in Spain and claiming all of Europe, and their descendents not arriving at the borders to Russia for over a hundred years and expecting the Russians to respect the ambit claim. The situation for indigenous peoples around the world is very similar and it is only through looking at the history, and listening to people like Koiki Mabo, that we can begin to right the wrongs of the past and present.
Today is also a sad day as we hear that that Yirakala man, former lead singer of Yothu Yindi, passed away overnight. He was a great champion of education and of Aboriginal rights and responsibilities to land and will be missed.