Lia Pootah - Media Releases
Tuesday, September 23, 2003
 
LIA POOTAH MARKING THE BICENTENARY IN TASMANIA

By Janene Hancock (MED)


September 12 2003 will long be remembered as a day when reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people became a reality and not just rhetoric.
At Risdon Vale, a community based in the valley not far from Risdon Cove, Lia Pootah people and Bowen Descendants mixed together in harmony and friendship. This was a time when history was remembered and recognition given to Lt Bowen arriving at Risdon Cove, and of a friendly encounter with the local Aboriginal people, Teen Toomele Menennye in 1803.

Other communities and government bodies bowed to the pressure of political correctness and missed an opportunity to put history into the past and to forge friendships and communication that will hopefully continue long into the future. It was a day of who’s who for reconciliation. More than 30 descendants of those who arrived with Bowen attended the event, the majority descended from Bowen’s young mistress Martha Hayes including a descendant from Elizabeth Cummings/Blinkworth who was a baby in Bowen’s party. Peter Sims was included in the ceremony in recognition of a man who has spent a lifetime preserving our Aboriginal heritage, as was Senator Paul Calvert in proxy for Minister Ruddock representing the link between the past and the present.

Among those present at the smoking ceremony were 9 politicians from the Tasmanian Liberal and Labour parties, independent Tasmanian Senators, plus representatives of Liberal and Labour from the Federal Parliament. President of the Federal Senate, Senator Paul Calvert delivered a speech on reconciliation from the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Philip Ruddock. The Mayor of Clarence and Aldermen from the Clarence City Council were among the high profile people in attendance. People came from all over to share the experience, one group came from Marawah Tasmania’s most northwestern town driving 6 hours and then thanked us for the experience.

Representatives from different Lia Pootah affiliated Aboriginal communities came from all over the state, with representatives of almost every southern historical society. Some of those who numbered among the 150 plus who attended came from interstate just for the event. Keith Windshuttle remarked that the Lia Pootah Community had created history.

Uncle Leslie Dick performed a traditional Smoking Ceremony, cleansing politicians and Bowen descendants alike. The ceremony was primarily to remove the dark cloud that history has perpetuated against non-Indigenous people, as well as being a welcoming to a time of conciliation and friendship.

After the ceremony, elders from the Lia Pootah Community spoke about Aboriginal history, recognised Bowen and his descendants and made a commitment to reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. Uncle Tom Curto was Master of Ceremonies and proved to be an expert in encouraging everyone to enjoy themselves and share in the experience. Some of the speakers were, Aunty Kaye McPherson, Uncle Leslie Dick and Uncle Keith Farrell and Mrs Rosyln Hill senior descendant of Martha Hayes spoke about her ancestress.

After the short speeches, people then moved down to enjoy a bar-b-que where sausages, fish and chips and kangaroo patties were available.

September 12 was a great success with feelings of hope and goodwill emanating through those present. It is hoped that this atmosphere will continue to spread through both communities, healing the past and building the future.

(This was a non funded event and was the event that the government wished did not happen. It was the only bicentennial event that was officially refused funding. However the Lia Pootah Community would like to thank those who supported us in the Smoking Ceremony and ensured it was a such a wonderful success. First Settlers 1804 Association, Lindisfarne Historical Society, Coal River Historical Society, Bellerive Historical Society, Sorell Historical Society, Senator Paul Calvert, Harry Quick MP, Aldermen Doug Chipman and Richard James, Penny Silver, Margaret Anderson, Sue Cox and the inkind support of chairs , BBQs etc. from the organisation who wishes to remain anonymous. A special thanks to our photographer Derek Ernest who again recorded our ceremonies for our children. Senior Elder Uncle Keith Farrell)


Wednesday, September 10, 2003
 
MEDIA RELEASE
10 September 2003
TAC TERRIFIED


My My My the TAC (Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre) must be terrified of the Lia Pootah Community. In the Mercury 10 September 2003 they have brought out their biggest gun a hoodwinked premier who they have hog tied in such a fashion he is unable to make any rational decision concerning the Tasmanian Aboriginal Community. The TAC keep loosing in their battle to deny we even exist. We win in court. We win in the historical documentation. We win with community knowledge. Lia Pootah have shown many of the academics to be poor researchers and biased historians when it comes to Tasmania’s Aboriginal history.

Lia Pootah have petitioned Parliament about recognition. The TAC rant and rave screaming we do not exist that we are white. The TAC use a bull horn to scream we do not recognise them as Aboriginal.

WHO CARES.

We do not and never have needed the TAC to confirm our Aboriginality. We knew we were Aboriginal longer than the TAC. Many in our community were being tormented for being Aboriginal before the TAC was even formed. This was at a time when many of today’s TAC community members were denying they were Aboriginal in the 1970s and 1980s as newspaper archives show. It has only been since the 1990s that many of their community have decided that they are Aboriginal and not ISLANDERS.

The TAC can decide for themselves anything they like, it is their right.

THE TASMANIAN ABORIGINAL CENTRE HAS NO RIGHT TO MAKE DECISIONS ABOUT PEOPLE THEY DO NOT REPRESENT, HAVE NO BLOOD TIES TO, AND, HAVE EXCLUDED SINCE 1996 WHEN THEY UNCEROMONIALLY DENIED US ACCESS TO ANY ABORIGINAL SUPPORT MECHENISIM IN PLACE FOR THE TASMANIAN ABORIGINAL PEOPLE.

Lia Pootah DESERVES an apology from Jim Bacon for lying to the Tasmanian population. Worse and more unfortunately for being a spokesperson speaking the tripe that comes out of the TAC or worse the Office of Aboriginal Affairs department of Premier and Cabinet, which is an extension of the TAC. Cousins helping cousins to push the barrow of deceit .

The world knows that any politician is only as good as their advisors. Jim Bacon has been shown time and again that he is receiving misleading advice. That his advisors are all tarred with the same brush (TAC and Bass Strait Islander descent) when it comes to their political agenda ensures a biased view of Aboriginal history. If you write the rules and rewrite the history to form a dogma that public officials are coerced into expounding only lies can result. Just because the policy maker for the TAC wrote the policies that control anything Aboriginal, that even the Premier of a state must adhere to, where is natural justice and the democratic rights of the people in any of this. It is only the dictatorship of the TAC that controls the government, not the people of Tasmania who think they are the electorate that forms the democracy. Tasmania’s tragedy is that Jim Bacon insists on making decisions without the input from the full range of people who make up the Tasmanian Aboriginal communities.

As has come to be expected the cruelty inflicted on the people of Tasmania by decisions made by Jim Bacon, spouting the diatribe of the TAC, is once more enforced by his closure of Risdon Cove. Descendants both Black and White have the right to have a personal pilgrimage to Risdon Cove and again the TAC slap away any form of reconciliation between the communities.

It is despicable and incendiary for Jim Bacon to state in the Mercury that Risdon Cove was closed to stop Lia Pootah from accessing it on the 12 September.

The Lia Pootah never had any intention to use the white man’s defined area of their traditional land called Risdon Cove. Knowing of old the vehemence of the TAC it was decided to access another place to mark the bicentenary of the event that shaped us all. To the Lia Pootah people the whole area of what is now called Risdon both Cove and Valley is of significance to their ancestors and traditional lands.

The headlines in today’s Mercury make a cheap shot from the TAC gun. How dare any elected official, let alone the Premier of a state, validate rhetoric proven to be a lie with the power of their office. It is bad enough that Fran Bladel, his appointed Bicentenary Committee Chairperson, can’t get anything right for 2003 and keeps shooting herself in the foot publicly by distorting everything about 1803-2003 events so that her statements have the mandated a complete “insensitivity to Aboriginal history”. The TAC shows sensitivity like a plague carrier, they couldn’t care less who they infect with their lies. They should be forced to accept the truth and held in isolation until they face the real history they refuse to allow the Tasmanian people to know.

THE BASS STRAIT ISLANDERS ARE NOT AND NEVER WERE THE ONLY SURVIVING FAMILIES OF THE 19th CENTURY GENOCIDE OF GOVERNOR ARTHUR.

For 18 months the Lia Pootah Community has been planning the event they are holding on 12 September 2003 at Risdon Vale. At no time was Risdon Cove ever considered. The TAC stole the land of Risdon Cove from 16,000Aboriginal people in 1999 when they gave themselves sole and access control of the site for their 300 remaining members. While Risdon Cove was for all the Tasmanian Aboriginal people Lia Pootah remained silent, all Tasmanians had equal access. The vicious soul destroying politics of the TAC is worse than any rhetoric indigenous people expect from white supremist aggressors. The TAC, is a totally selfserving corporation is about money – power – and above all greed.

Risdon Cove should be for all Tasmanians black and white. It is significant for Tasmania’s history and its beginnings were marked by a friendly encounter between two races in 1803.

That this initial occurrence went to hell in a hand basket does not give any one the right to claim it never occurred.

SHAME ON THE TAC FOR DEMANDING CENSORSHIP FOR OUR LEGITIMATE LIA POOTAH HISTORY IN 2003. WHEN THEY ARE PLANNING A MEGA JOYFUL EVENT COSTING MILLIONS, ORCHESTRATED BY FRAN BLADEL’S SON RICHARD AND TACs JIMMY EVERETT TO BE HELD IN MAY THE MONTH OF THE MASSACRE.

IN 1803 THE TEEN TOOMELE MENENNYE PEOPLE WERE AT RISDON COVE WHEN THE FRIENDLY INTERACTION OCCURRED.

IN MAY 1804 THE TEEN TOOMELE MENENNYE PEOPLE WERE THOSE WHO WERE KILLED AND INJURED WHEN LT. MOORE AND OTHERS FIRED ON THEM.

How dare the TAC, descended from the Bass Strait Islanders, desecrate the memory of the ancestors of the Lia Pootah community with their fabricated historical stories.

Today both cultures have descendants who reside in harmony in the valley of Risdon Cove. Descendant’s of the party of Lt. Bowen have welcomed the opportunity to share with the descendants of Teen Toomele Menennye in this day of significance.

The Lia Pootah community welcomes people of all ancestry and descent to attend their friendly event in the name of reconciliation at Risdon Vale on 12 September 2003 in memory of those who in 1803 shared a friendly interaction.


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