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National Aborigines Day 1976



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fe; DEPARTMENT OF ABORIGINAL AFFAIRS

M E D IA RELEASE

NATIONAL ABORIGINES MY 1976

The A c tin g M in is te r f o r A b o rig in a l A f f a i r s , S e n a to r G u ilfo y le ,

i n a m essage t o mark N a tio n a l A b o rig in e s Day tomorrow ( f r i ) s a id

she hoped t h a t a l l A u s tr a lia n s would p a r t i c i p a t e i n somq way in

afcknowiedging t h e ; o c c a s io n . The c e le b r a tio n o f N a tio n a l A b o rig in es Day was an im p o rta n t e v e n t f o r A u s tr a lia n s A b b rig in a l p e o p le .

. Sdnatoi? d tiilf d y lp added t h a t i t should a ls o p ro v id e

6n o p p b rtu n ity f d r th e A u s tra lia n p e o p le a s a whole to r e f l e c t

bn th e a ric ie h t h i s t o r y Shd uniqiie C u ltu re o f th e A b o rig in a ls ,,

a h i s t o r y which went back in tim e f o r a t l e a s t 40,000 y £ a rs

b e fo re European s e ttle m e n t.. ’

A lthough s c h o la r s had re c o g n is e d th e v a lu e o f th e

A b o rig in a l t r a d i t i o n and c u ltu r e f o r many y e a r s , i t was o n ly

in r e c e n t tim e s t h a t a f e e l i n g had been grow ing among A u s tra lia n s

g e n e r a lly t h a t th e A b o rig in a l peo p le sh o u ld be a s s i s t e d to r e t a i n

t h e i r h e r i t a g e . · ,

A u s tr a lia n s were a ls o d is c o v e r in g how much A b o rig in a l p e o p le had to o f f e r s o c ie ty th ro u g h t h e i r example o f k in s h ip ,

l o y a l t y and community r e s p o n s i b i l i t y which was a s s tr o n g to d a y a s

e v e r . . ;

The M in is te r s a id Government p o lic y o v e r th e p a s t

decade had r e f l e c t e d t h i s more e n lig h te n e d view and was aimed a t

r e c t i f y i n g some o f th e i n j u s t i c e s A b o rig in a ls had s u f f e r e d s in c e

E uropean s e tt le m e n t.

In r e c e n t months Land R ig h ts l e g i s l a t i o n had been

in tro d u c e d i n t o P a rlia m e n t, a s had l e g i s l a t i o n t o f a c i l i t a t e th e

in c o r p o r a tio n o f com m unities and o r g a n is a ti o n s . I n o rd e r t o e n su re

e f f e c t iv e n e s s o f s e r v ic e s to A b o rig in a ls s e v e r a l i n q u i r i e s had

been s e t up to make recom m endations t o th e Government on a number o f m a tte r s .

The Government aimed a t m aking i t p o s s ib le f o r A b o rig in a ls t o p la y a s i g n i f i c a n t r o l e in s e t t i n g th e p r i o r i t i e s in e x p e n d itu re

and was c o n s u ltin g w ith them on a p p r o p r ia te ways to d e a l w ith

s o c i a l problem s such a s a lc o h o l and d ru g a b u se . .

The v a r io u s N a tio n a l A b o rig in e s Day O bservance Committees had p la n n ed a c t i v i t i e s t o mark th e day i n m ajor c i t i e s and towns

th ro u g h o u t th e c o u n tr y . These in c lu d e d conunemorative church s e r v ic e s , s p o r tin g e v e n ts , b a l l s , f ilm shows and e x h i b i t i o n s ,

S e n a to r G u ilfo y le s a id she was g la d t h a t th e D epartm ent o f "

A b o rig in a l A f f a ir s had been a b le to a s s i s t th e Committee w ith some

fu n d s to a s s i s t them in o rg a n iz in g th e s e a c t i v i t i e s .

CANBERRA A.C.T

8 JULY, 1976