Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Yindjibarndi controversy

Miss Eagle wrote in a comment on a post:

I haven't got to watch the Cleo stuff yet. Just writing to tell you about an advertisement appearing on your site. I don't know if you are aware but a Twiggy Forrest/FGM ad about the Yindjibarndi dispute at Roebourne is on your site. Please read the post on my blog about it -

I checked through to the post in question. There I read in part:

I "Follow" Jim Belshaw on Twitter and I am a frequent visitor to his blog, Personal Reflections, and I happened to glance at his sidebar and discovered the Yindjibarndi advertisement.  Google ads do their best to match advertisement type to site text.  Jim occasionally writes about Aboriginal matters/history around New England in New South Wales where he lives as did his family before him.  So the word 'Aboriginal' is the only connection between Jim and his blog and the Google ad.

I actually live in Sydney now, but still call New England home. However, that's a minor quibble.

Miss E is a regular commenter and very interesting because she has different experience, a knowledge of the North, and so feeds me a different perspectives. On the other hand, I wasn't sure how to respond to her comment.

  It's interesting but actually not surprising that the Google algorithm should spot this blog. On this blog alone I have written over 100 posts on Aboriginal policy, history and life. Across my blogs I have now written almost  200 posts. Six of my last ten posts on this blog have dealt with or mentioned Aboriginal issues. Really, far to many for the balance I try to maintain. So the Google placement was not a surprise. 

I first became aware of Mr Forrest and the Yindjibarndi controversy when my past posts on Mr Forrest and Generation One (Andrew Forrest's 50,000 indigenous jobs, Generation One, Andrew Forrest and Aboriginal jobs) started getting new comments long after the post dates. As part of this, JabulaniSon in a comment referred to a vimeo video on the matter. By the time I looked at it, this had been taken down, apparently following protests by Fortescue. If you click through on the ad referred to it is clearly a response to the video. 

The Yindjibarndi people are one of the traditional owners of land on which Fortescue is developing its Solomon Hub.

On April 4 a misleading, heavily edited video of a important community meeting was circulated online. It is important that the facts are told.

The people speaking in this video are Yindjibarndi. They formed another corporation called Wirlu Murra Yindjibarndi as they believed the Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation was not fairly representing their interests.

A meeting was held on March 16 2011 in Roebourne. All Yindjibarndi were invited, 170 attended. All had the right to vote, regardless of where they came from, regardless of how they travelled to the meeting.

The Fortescue offer to the Yindjibarndi is a $10.5 million package of cash, training, business development and housing.

20 people voted against the Wirlu Murra Yindjibarndi resolutions while over a hundred voted in favour of them. The 20 people control a media group and only wanted cash payments. The Community wanted jobs, training, housing and apprenticeships.

I am not in a position to comment on the accuracy of the Company's PR. Miss E's assessment can be found in these posts. The last post contains links to other material:

For those who are interested in learning further I have given a few links below. I haven't attempted full coverage.

  • ABC North West WA The Yindjibarndi FMG case provides an introduction along with links to previous ABC coverage on the matter
  • ABC AM coverage here
  • Age coverage here

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