Our Generation (film)

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Our Generation
400x300 ADELAIDE-eflyer.jpg
Directed by Sinem Saban
Damien Curtis
Music by John Butler
Release date
  • August 2010 (2010-08)
Running time
73 minutes
CountryAustralia
LanguageEnglish

Our Generation is a 2010 Australian documentary film about the struggle of Aboriginal Australians in the Northern Territory to retain their land, culture and freedom. [1]

Contents

Overview

Our Generation analyzes relations between Aboriginal Australians and European Australians, from the beginning of colonisation until the present day and looks at ongoing Government policies of paternalism and forced assimilation, explores some of the issues underlying current Aboriginal disadvantage, and upholds the right of First Australians to dignity, culture and empowerment in their own country. [2]

Throughout the documentary, many opinions and testimonies from members of the Yolngu people of Northeast Arnhem Land are shared. [3] [4]

The film also shows how Kevin Rudd's 2008 apology to the Stolen Generations has done nothing to alter the Australian Government's mistreatment of Aboriginal Australians. The Australian Government continues to undermine Aboriginal people's basic human rights, continuing to prevent and restrict their involvement in decisions which affect themselves and their communities, access to basic services, the ability to retain and maintain Aboriginal languages, and the ability to remain on their ancestral homelands. [2] [3] [5]

Issues

Our Generation explores and raises awareness of some major modern issues faced by Aboriginal Australians. [4] [6]

Some of the issues presented in the film are:

Health

Despite Australia being one of the world's richest nations, Aboriginal Australians have the worst health and living conditions of any Indigenous group in the world and they live, on average, 17 years less than non-Aboriginal Australians. In remote communities in the Northern Territory, infant mortality is three times higher than the rest of Australia and diseases that aren't often found in developed countries are widespread. [6]

Northern Territory Intervention

The 2007 Northern Territory Intervention was a Government response to the 2007 Little Children are Sacred report on child abuse in Aboriginal communities. The policy rushed through parliament in 48 hours, and after five years of this policy being in place; the amount of child abuse has doubled, school attendance rates are lower, overall health is worse and there is a five-fold increase in the amount of suicides. The intervention will continue until at least 2021 under the Stronger Futures policy. [6]

Homelands

In 2009, the Australians Government introduced the Working Futures policy, which aims to move Aboriginal Australians away from the Homelands or Outstations, which were built to enable Aboriginal Australians to live in the same areas as their ancestors, and into larger and often overcrowded townships. [6]

Education

School attendance rates in the Northern Territory are the lowest in Australia and Aboriginal schools, especially those in remote areas, are the most under resourced. To improve school attendance rates and education quality, many Aboriginal people have requested to be more involved in the creation of culturally appropriate curricula for their children.

Recent Northern Territory government policies have led to many Aboriginal languages no longer being taught in schools. [6]

Human Rights

The Australian Government's treatment of Aboriginal Australians has been condemned by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Rights, James Anaya in 2009, and again by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay in 2011. An Amnesty International campaign has been created to challenge the Government's homelands policy. [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]

Cross-Cultural Understanding

To achieve genuine Reconciliation, it is noted that non-Aboriginal Australians will need to have more awareness of Aboriginal Australian cultures. [6]

Respecting Traditional Law and Governance

Aboriginal society has long had a complex system of Law and Governance which is different and often at odds with the Westminster system introduced by Europeans. Non-Aboriginal Australians failing to respect the importance of traditional law is a major contributor to the current lawlessness and social breakdown in Aboriginal communities. [6]

Constitutional Reform

The Australian Constitution which came into effect in 1901 permits racial discrimination and also makes no mention of the human rights of Aboriginal Australians. In January 2012, a Government appointed Expert Panel on Constitutional Reform recommended that the Constitution should recognise Aboriginal people as the First Australians, that their cultures and languages should be respected, and that racial discrimination should not be permitted. In order for changes to be made to the Constitution, it must achieve a double majority in a National Referendum. [6] [11] [12]

Treaty and Sovereignty

Unlike the US, Canada and New Zealand, no treaty was ever negotiated between the lawful owners of Australia and those who took their land. This makes Australia the only Commonwealth nation where a treaty was never made with the Indigenous people. British colonisers avoided the creation of a treaty by falsely claiming that Australia was terra nullius or uninhabited when they arrived. Many Aboriginal people feel that their sovereignty was not and still is not respected and that a treaty should be created. [6]

Production

Our Generation was created as a response to the Howard Government's controversial ‘Emergency Intervention’ into remote Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory and the lack of mainstream media coverage of the voices and plight of people in these communities. [2] [13] [14] The intervention, which was supposedly undertaken solely to protect children from abuse, saw the removal of all existing Aboriginal land rights, the suspension of the Racial Discrimination Act, and more than 70 Aboriginal communities being placed under compulsory government control, all without consulting or gaining consent from any of the people in these communities. [2]

Production began without a script or a pre-determined story. The filmmakers talked with many Aboriginal people across the Northern Territory, and after 3 years they had compiled over 200 hours of footage. After the rough cut was completed, the film was screened in many community centres across Northeast Arnhem Land. [4]

According to Director Sinem Saban, the film's style was inspired by Michael Moore's documentary Bowling For Columbine. [3]

Reception

Australian musician John Butler has stated that; "[Our Generation] is an important film that everyone needs to see. It will change your life." [4] [5] [15]

Cathy Henkel, director of The Burning Season noted that "if ever Australia had an Inconvenient Truth, this is it. Our Generation is a highly emotional, powerful journey into territory that we have chosen too long to ignore… This is a film every Australian needs to see." [4] [5]

Australian journalist John Pilger, who has himself made several documentaries on the subject, observed:

"Our Generation is a very fine piece of work. It's truthful, eloquent and, above all, it explains very clearly to first-timers and the many who need reminding why the Indigenous people of Australia are once again being defrauded of their human and political rights in a country calling itself a democracy."

John Pilger, Our Generation. [4]

Cast

(As themselves)

Broadcasting

CountryNetwork(s)/Station(s)
Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia NITV [18]

Awards

CeremonyCategoryResult
London International Documentary Festival Best Campaign FilmWon [15]
2011 Asia Pacific Screen Awards Nominated [15]

See also

Related Research Articles

Stolen Generations Indigenous Australian children forcibly acculturated into White Australian society

The Stolen Generations were the children of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent who were removed from their families by the Australian federal and state government agencies and church missions, under acts of their respective parliaments. The removals of those referred to as "half-caste" children were conducted in the period between approximately 1905 and 1967, although in some places mixed-race children were still being taken into the 1970s.

Arnhem Land Region in the Northern Territory, Australia

Arnhem Land is a historical region of the Northern Territory of Australia. It is located in the north-eastern corner of the territory and is around 500 km (310 mi) from the territory capital, Darwin. In 1623, Dutch East India Company captain Willem Joosten van Colster sailed into the Gulf of Carpentaria and Cape Arnhem is named after his ship, the Arnhem, which itself was named after the city of Arnhem in the Netherlands.

Human rights in Australia have largely been developed under Australian Parliamentary democracy through laws in specific contexts and safeguarded by such institutions as the independent judiciary and the High Court, which implement common Law, the Australian Constitution, and various other laws of Australia and its states and territories. Australia also has an independent statutory human rights body, the Australian Human Rights Commission, which investigates and conciliates complaints, and more generally promotes human rights through education, discussion and reporting.

History of the Northern Territory

The history of the Northern Territory began over 60,000 years ago when Indigenous Australians settled the region. Makassan traders began trading with the indigenous people of the Northern Territory for trepang from at least the 18th century onwards, and possibly 300 years prior to that.

An outstation, homeland or homeland community is a very small, often remote, permanent community of Aboriginal Australian people connected by kinship, on land that often, but not always, has social, cultural or economic significance to them, as traditional land. The outstation movement or homeland movement refers to the voluntary relocation of Aboriginal people from towns to these locations.

Indigenous Australian self-determination, also known as Aboriginal Australian self-determination, is the power relating to self-governance by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia. It is the right of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to determine their own political status and pursue their own economic, social and cultural interests. Self-determination asserts that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should direct and implement Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander policy formulation and provision of services. Self-determination encompasses both Aboriginal land rights and self-governance, and may also be supported by a treaty between a government and an Indigenous group in Australia.

Rosalie Kunoth-Monks

Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, also known as Ngarla Kunoth, is an Australian film actress, Aboriginal activist and politician.

Indigenous Australians are people with familial heritage to groups that lived in Australia before British colonisation. They include the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia. The term Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, or the person's specific cultural group, is often preferred, though the terms First Nations of Australia, First Peoples of Australia and First Australians are also increasingly common.

Little Children are Sacred, or Ampe Akelyernemane Meke Mekarle is the report of a Board of Inquiry into the Protection of Aboriginal Children from Sexual Abuse, chaired by Rex Wild and Patricia Anderson. Commissioned by the government of the Northern Territory, Australia, the report was publicly released on 15 June 2007.

Northern Territory National Emergency Response

The Northern Territory National Emergency Response, also known as "The Intervention" or the Northern Territory Intervention, and sometimes the abbreviation "NTER" was a package of measures enforced by legislation affecting Indigenous Australians in the Northern Territory (NT) of Australia. The measures included restrictions on the consumption of alcohol and pornography, changes to welfare payments, and changes to the delivery and management of education, employment and health services in the Territory.

Bess Nungarrayi Price is an Aboriginal Australian activist and politician. She was a Country Liberal Party member of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly from 2012 to 2016, representing the electorate of Stuart, and was Minister for Community Services in the Giles Ministry. She lives in Alice Springs in Central Australia.

Indigenous land rights in Australia, also known as Aboriginal land rights in Australia, relate to the rights and interests in land of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia, and the term may also include the struggle for those rights. Connection to the land and waters is vital in Australian Aboriginal culture and to that of Torres Strait Islander people, and there has been a long battle to gain legal and moral recognition of ownership of the lands and waters occupied by the many peoples prior to colonisation of Australia starting in 1788, and the annexation of the Torres Strait Islands by the colony of Queensland in the 1870s.

The Stronger Futures policy is a multifaceted social policy of the Australian government concerning the Aboriginal population of the Northern Territory. It is underpinned by the Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory Act 2012.

Ancestral domain or ancestral lands refers to the lands, territories and resources of indigenous peoples, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. The term differs from indigenous land rights, Aboriginal title or Native Title by directly indicating relationship to land based on ancestry, while domain indicates relationships beyond material lands and territories, including spiritual and cultural aspects that may not be acknowledged in land titles and legal doctrine about trading ownership.

Utopia is a 2013 documentary film written, produced and presented by John Pilger and directed by Pilger and Alan Lowery, that explores the experiences of Aboriginal Australians in modern Australia. The title is derived from the Aboriginal homeland community of Utopia, Northern Territory, one of the poorest and most desolate areas in Australia.

Indigenous or Aboriginal self-government refers to proposals to give governments representing the Indigenous peoples in Canada greater powers of government. These proposals range from giving Aboriginal governments powers similar to that of local governments in Canada to demands that Indigenous governments be recognized as sovereign, and capable of "nation-to-nation" negotiations as legal equals to the Crown, as well as many other variations.

Vincent Forrester is an Aboriginal Australian activist, artist and community leader. Forrester was a founding member of a number of Aboriginal organisations in central Australia. He lives at Mutitjulu, where he has served as the chairman of the community council. During the 1980s, he served as an advisor on indigenous affairs to the governments of Malcolm Fraser and Bob Hawke.

Yingiya Mark Guyula

Yingiya Mark Guyula is an Australian politician and a Yolŋu man of the Djambarrpuyŋu clan and the Liya-Dhälinymirr people. He is an independent member of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly for the seat of Mulka in north-east Arnhem Land. He previously represented Nhulunbuy from 2016 to 2020. He is the only independent Indigenous member of parliament in the Northern Territory and campaigned on a platform of self-determination for Yolŋu people.

Patricia Audrey Anderson is an Australian human rights advocate and health administrator. An Alyawarre woman from the Northern Territory, she is well known internationally as a social justice advocate, advocating for improved health, and educational and protection outcomes for Indigenous Australian children.

Indigenous treaties in Australia describe legal documents defining the relationship between Indigenous Australians and the Government of Australia or the government of an Australian state or territory. As of 2020 there are no such treaties in existence.

References

  1. "Our Generation (2010)". IMDb . Retrieved 2 June 2011.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "'Our Generation' - Documentary details, screenings and trailer". Treaty Republic. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  3. 1 2 3 Willis, Neil (15 February 2011). "Our Generation: Land Culture Freedom - review". The Guardian . Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Our Generation: The Film". Our Generation. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  5. 1 2 3 Wotzke, Anders (15 October 2010). "Aboriginal Rights Documentary 'Our Generation' Tours the Country". Moviedex. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 "The Issues". Our Generation. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  7. "UN human rights envoy James Anaya: NT intervention is racist". The Australian . 28 August 2009. Retrieved 31 December 2014.
  8. Thompson, Jeremy (25 May 2011). "UN rights chief attacks 'disturbing' policies". Australian Broadcasting Corporation . Retrieved 31 December 2014.
  9. "Homelands". Amnesty International . Retrieved 31 December 2014.
  10. "Don't abandon Aboriginal homelands". Amnesty International . Retrieved 31 December 2014.
  11. "Some Background". Recognise. Retrieved 31 December 2014.
  12. "Constitutional reform: Fact Sheet - Recognising Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people in the Constitution". Australian Human Rights Commission . Retrieved 31 December 2014.
  13. "Our Generation". CreativeSpirits.info. Retrieved 2 June 2011.
  14. "Our Generation". NITV . Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  15. 1 2 3 "Our Generation". Our Generation. Archived from the original on 18 December 2014. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  16. "Our Generation (2010) Full Cast & Crew". IMDb . Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  17. "Cast & Credits". Our Generation. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  18. "Film to broadcast on National Indigenous Television (NITV)". Our Generation. Retrieved 30 December 2014.