May 01 2015

How Australia’s Indigenous Communities are Fighting Against Increased Oppression

Feature Stories | Published 1 May 2015, 10:05 am | Comments Off on How Australia’s Indigenous Communities are Fighting Against Increased Oppression -

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GUEST: Ryan Whitewolf, an activist and musician.

In the United States, African Americans are 6 times more likely to be incarcerated than whites. There are few places on the planet where such racial disparity is seen. But in Australia, indigenous communities are 24 times more likely to be imprisoned than non-indigenous people, according to a report released this week. In Western Australia where aboriginal communities are clustered, that disparity rises to a whopping 52 times. The problem is also exacerbated among indigenous youth – nearly 60 per cent of young people imprisoned in Australia are indigenous.

On the housing front, the Australian government has been waging an all-our war against aboriginal communities, having proposed the closure of 150 communities in Western Australia. Even the United Nations permanent forum on indigenous issues has added its voice to those opposing the move. Prime Minister Tony Abbott has taken a hard line position on funding services for those communities, saying, “It’s not the job of the taxpayers to subsidize lifestyle choices.”

Around the world, actions have sprung up in solidarity with Australia’s indigenous people as part of a global awareness campaign. In Los Angeles, where this program is based, indigenous activists from Australia will be rallying this afternoon in Echo Park.

To follow Ryan’s work, visit his FB page at facebook.com/ryanwhitewolf.com.

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