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2003 ...IRATI WANTI 'the poison - leave it' - Senior Aboriginal Women's Council

IRATI WANTI the poison - leave it. Message from Senior Aboriginal Women's Council Coober Pedy SA to the people of Sydney and Australia, 2003, as published in Sydney City Hub 2003


Senior Aboriginal Women's Council Coober Pedy SA

We were born on th earth, not in the hospital. We were born in the sand. Mother never put us in the water and washed us when were born straight out. They dried us with the sand. Then they put us, newborn baby, fireside, no blankets, they put us in the warm sand. And after that, when the cord comes off, they put us through the smoke. We really know the land. From a baby we grow up on the land.

Never mind our country is the desert, that,s where we belong. And we love where we belong, the whole land. We know the stories for the land. The Seven Sisters travelled right across, in the beginning. They formed the land. Its very important Tjukur the Law, the Dreaming that must not be disturbed. The Seven Sisters are everywhere. We can give the evidence for what we say; we can show you the dance of the Seven Sisters.

Listen to us! The desert lands are not dry as you think! Can't the Government plainly see there is water here? Nothing can live without water. There's a big underground river underneath. We know the poison from the radioactive dump will go down under the ground and leak into the water. We drink from this water. Only the Government and people like that have tanks. The animals drink from this water malu kangaroo, kalaya emu, porcupine, ngintaka perentie, goanna and all the others. We eat these animals, that's our meat. We're worried that any of these animals will become poisoned and we'll become poisoned in our turn.

Everywhere there is underground water. We know that. it doesn't matter what station you make the dump on or near. They've all got wells. The sheep and cattle have to drink from the bores. Of course they'll get poisoned in their turn. Can't the pastoralists see that plainly?

The poisin the Government is talking about is from Sydney. We say send it back to Sydney. We don't want it! Are they trying to kill us? We're a human being. Not an animal. We're not a dog. In the old days the white man used to put a poison in the meat, throw them to feed the dogs and they got poisoned, straight out and then they died. Now they want to put the poison in the ground. We want our life.

All of us were living when the Government used the country for the Bomb. Some were living at Twelve Mile, just of of Coober Pedy. The smoke was funny and everything looked hazy. Everybody got sick. Other people were at Mabel Creek and many people got sick. Some were living at Wallatinna. Other people go moved away. Whitefellas and all got sick. When were young, no woman got breast cancer or any other kind of cancer. Cancer was unheard of with men either. And no asthma, we were people without sickness.

The Government thought they knew what they were doing then. Now, again they are coming along and telling us poor blackfellas "Oh, there's nothing that's going to happen, nothing is going to kill you." And that will still happen like that bomb over there.

And we're worrying for our kids. We've got a lot of kids growing up on the country and still coming more, grandchildren and great grandchildren. They have to have their life.

We've been fighting this radioactive waste, this poison, for more many years. Arguing about it, talking about it, talking to people, asking people to help us. They might help us, but they'll really be helping themselves. Whitefellas have got kids too, we all have to live in the country.

And then, we really couldn't believe it when we heard them talking about sending the rubbish from all other countries as well! They must really want to kill us.! We can't believe it! How can you live like that? They're really aiming to wipe the country out, not just us but all living things in the whole earth!

It's from our grandmothers and our grandfathers that we've learned about the land. This learning isn't written on paper as whitefellas knowledge is. We carry it instead in our heads and we're talking from our hearts, for the land. You fellas, whitefellas, put us in the back all the time, like we've got no language for the land. But we've got the story for the land.

Listen to us!


Ivy Makinti Stewart
Eileen Kampukuta Brown
Lucy Kowing Wilton
Dianne Edwards
Emily Munyungka Austin
Angelina Wonga
Peggy Cullinan

for the Kupa Piti Kungka Tjuta (Senior Aboriginal Women's Council Coober Pedy SA) PO Box 1043 Coober Pedy SA Australia 5723 tel (08) 8672 3413
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