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BEHIND THE SCENES

Political correctness in Tasmania has over stepped the mark to the extent that for fear of being called a racist - intolerant - insensitive - disrespectful or any other derogative term, the broader community now moves away from all Aboriginal issues, claiming "its an Aboriginal problem" - "let them sort it out themselves". Unfortunately this inadvertently gives power to those who intimidate and use bullying practises.

The early 1990s saw the Gray Government make the TAC the spokes person for the entire Tasmanian Aboriginal community. And they were until 1996 when all Tasmanian Aboriginal people were Palawas and the TAC was our accepted Aboriginal body, hence the problem and confusion for non Aboriginal people to understand the current dilemma.

In 1996 the TAC decided to release a report compiled by Koorie Consultancies (in reality a Tasmanian group who are inter-related with the 5 power brokers of the TAC). This report made a number of suggestions which were immediately implemented as soon as the report was made public. Instantly denying more than three quartes of the Tasmanian Aboriginal community their right to be Aboriginal. The report insisted that a european genealogy tracing back to a "Tribal Ancestor" be the only recognition of being Tasmanian Aboriginal. Ensuring that all future so call Tasmanian Aboriginal people would be descended from the Bass Strait Islands.

This effectively meant that in excess of 10,000 people were now no longer recognised as Aboriginal on the whim of less than 10 people. Their arguments "there are too many Aboriginal people". "They can get a genealogy to prove their Ancestry". A situation that any social or family historian well knows is impossible for a significant amount of Tasmanians Aboriginal or not. Records just were not kept prior to 1850 for the general public and even institutions have large gaps in their historical accounts.

Effectively from 1996 the TAC only represented a small number of the Palawa people, and then not even all of the one blood family. It is estimated by some that the Palawa community is approximately 250 strong. The rest are not recognised due to petty grudges and childish vendettas which see one sister recognised and the other not. Anomonous letters are accepted by Centerlink and Abstudy can be removed on a whim or because of spite. These problems of the Palawas have created chaos within the Aboriginal community and complete confusion in the broader community with what superficially appeared to be a north south issue of Ancestry.

It is this chaos which the Lia Pootah community is trying to sort out with its non political information and educational services.

 

 

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