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NT Peoples say no to Pine Gap and to fracking

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Lindy Nolan

Each morning from April 19 to 25, the clapsticks of quietly spoken Arrente activist, Chris Peltherre Tomlin, called people to the smoking ceremony at the Frontier Wars Camp at the Tent Embassy in Canberra.

The Camp was co-hosted by ‘Wage Peace’ and ‘Close Pine Gap’. NITV’s Nakari Thorpe spoke with Chris Tomlins just before the camp began and recorded his conversation:

“‘We have a past here, and it's a bloody past,’ he says. 
 “‘Their ancestors may have went to war to defend this country, but our ancestors were the first to defend this country.’ 
“Mr Tomlins says the Frontier Wars is the nation's best kept secrets.”

On Anzac Day Chris Tomlin’s message exposing another dangerous secret on his People’s land was emblazoned across his chest, ‘Close Pine Gap’. 

In 2016 he wrote, “The harm issuing in our country from the US spy base at Pine Gap is immense. 
“We remind the world of our responsibility as guardians under the lore for all that takes place on our country.
“We all carry the burden of Pine Gap and the crimes taking place there,” he stated.
The red tailed black cockatoo, emblem of ‘Close Pine Gap’, fluttered on banners within the camp. 

My children’s children
Other messages too came loud and strong.

The NT Labor Government’s announcement that 51 per cent of the Territory is now open to fracking, was an undercurrent during the week. Warlpiri elder Ned Jampijimpa Hargraves, from Yuendumu in the Northern Territory, spoke at the Camp for all Warlpiri.

Speaking at the Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracking public hearings, in February, he said, "People need to work with Indigenous people and, most importantly, share Australia. We, as Indigenous people, want to share that lore, tjurpka - we want to share that." 

“The last thing that we want with our people, is drinking toxic water… We have heard so many stories about fracking.” 
He said, his People, “have left us responsibility, authorities, to look after the country… My tjurpka is rain dreaming, and I have a responsibility to keep that alive for my children’s, children’s future.

“This fracking is something new to our People. To me I see it is so dangerous. It is not good to live on our country… that is broken into two parts. It’s going to take away our culture, identity, and the last thing I want to see our culture gone, and our children living on toxic water. How we going to live with that toxic water, how?...

“We are so angry that these things keep coming, keep coming, keep coming! Somewhere along the line we have to stop and work it out together… Digging up a hole, it’s digging up my body,” Ned Jampijima Hargraves stated.

The cost of fracking has already been high for Northern Territory. But the people of Maningrida, led by the Stingray Sisters, Noni, Grace and the late Alice Eather, fought and won hugely important victory against fracking. 

Its symbol of water, an open blue hand, continues to inspire all those who unite against the power of corporations.


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