Indigenous Rights and Freedoms
By: Georgia Peterson
Background and Personal History
Role in the Struggle for Rights and Freedoms
Short Term Successes
Sources 4 and 5 also make clear of another short term success, the success of drawing national attention and awareness towards aboriginal land ownership. The appearance of that the Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam made drew even more widespread attention to the Aboriginal land rights. This made everyday citizens aware of the issues facing Indigenous Australians. The petitioning work completed by Vincent Lingiari clearly drew in further media and government attention towards the issue.
Another success achieved from the work by Vincent Lingiari was the loss of the land lease for Vesteys. As evident in source 3, supporters of Lingiari promoted to 'boycott vesteys goods'. This was due to the poor treatment that was received by Aboriginal workers on the Wave Hill Station. In source 1, it is made clear that the Aboriginal stockmen and servants working on the station did not receive adequate wages and were forced to work and live in poor conditions. With the Gurindji people being given the lease to the land of Wattie Creek (source 1), the pastoral company Vesteys, who were incharge of the cattle station would have ultimately lost land. This is a success towards Aboriginal rights and freedoms as it affected the company who were poorly treating Aboriginal workers, therefore stopping the poor treatment of the workers and punishing the company for their cruel treatment.
A short term success achieved by Vincent Lingiari came in 1972, six years into the strike. In source 9, the Prime Minister Billy McMahon announced that funding would be made available to enable Aboriginal people to buy land. After this, the owner of Vesteys surrendered some of the Wave Hill Station land. These were both significant as they were a step closer to achieving land rights for Aboriginal people. The source makes apparent that these were a great victory for Lingiari it was a sign of the greater change set to appear for the Aboriginal people.
Long Term Achievements
In the legacy of Vincent Lingiari, The Lingiari Foundation was formed in 2001 in recognition of the contribution he made towards Aboriginal land claims. The foundation works towards the promotion of Indigenous rights, the development of Aboriginal leadership within communities as well as reconciliation. Source 11 indicates that the work of Lingiari is still alive years later. Lingiari evidently paved the way towards not only raising awareness of Aboriginal land rights, but also for other general issues in society affecting Indigenous Australians. The foundation promotes the rights of Indigenous people, as Vincent Lingiari did through petitioning and holding the Wave Hill strike.
Another achievement of Lingiari is evident through source 11, through The Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture. The lecture is held annually at Charles Darwin University and was established in 1996. The lectures are held to commemorate the Wave Hill 'walk off' as well as to discuss contemporary issues faced by Aboriginals. Without Vincent Lingiari's contributions to the land rights movement, the discussion of issues affecting Indigenous Australians would not occur, like at the lecture. The work of Lingiari influenced Aboriginal people to have a voice and discuss issues they are faced with in society.
Ultimately, Vincent Lingiari began the land rights movement for Aboriginal Australians and drew immense awareness to Aboriginal rights in general. In the quote by the Gurindji people; "He wasn't only fighting for the Gurindji people he was fighting for all Aboriginal people, for the way the white man treated us", it is made clear that the work completed by Lingiari was done so in order to help present and future Aboriginals. The land rights movement was set to benefit and create a pathway for Indigenous people to gain their rights and it was successful.
"He wasn't only fighting for the Gurindji people he was fighting for all Aboriginal people,
for the way the white man treated us. " - The Gurindji people
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