An Aboriginal perspective on protest violence

Today (25th September 2014) Aboriginal artist Richard Bell posted this:

Aboriginal people have practiced peaceful resistance since, at the latest, the mid 1930s. Vincent Lingiari led a strike by Aboriginal stockmen at Wattie Creek that lasted for eight years – easily the longest worker’s strike in Australian history, perhaps the longest in the World. The Aboriginal Tent Embassy was a brilliant and powerful use of symbolism. Those events were peaceful protests. All our recent struggles have been peaceful, yet were faced with violence. We have persisted with peaceful, dignified and creative protest along the way.


It’s interesting that anyone else in this country would think it is okay for them to choose violence when we, the original owners of this land, don’t.

While we need to be mindful of not participating in and thus contributing to the current media hysteria around the increased national security levels and terrorist threats, (and Richard is mindful of this), I think Richard’s statement is pertinent to anyone who believes that intentionally violent protests (including acts of terror) would be acceptable.

This is first and foremost Aboriginal land. And that should not be forgotten.

3 thoughts on “An Aboriginal perspective on protest violence”

  1. I Liked the Tent Embassy on FB. I contacted them and got permission to use lots of their photographs for the workers media assignments in Year 8 re the CCE ABTSI perspectives framework. It was brilliant, they got back to me immediately. Brilliant resource. Richard Bell is right.
    Is the flame back at Musgrave? Could you do a uptodate post on this?
    Saw Richard's portrait in Sydney at the Archibald. Brilliant artist statement.
    Did you get to see the Show? Quite an inclusive range of artworks, including the Wynne prize, too.

    1. It's great to like these sites/causes on Facebook – it's an opportunity for folks to be exposed to the variety of ideas and opinions that make up Murri perspectives. It's great that you've got permission to use their images. Have you seen Brisbane Blacks magazine – it's on Issuu. I'm not sure if the flame is back at Musgrave. I'm not 100% it's the priority – they do a lot of work in distributing food parcels, and then of course here is the G20 coming.

      Are you talking about Abdul Abdullah's portrait of Richard? It was great. Abdul is an exciting artist. I haven't been in to see the Archibald yet, though I was at the AGNSW while it was on.

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