At a time when there is a serious threat that remote indigenous communities could be shut down, at a time where there is a controversial “deal” to end native title, at a time of catastrophic rates of youth suicide, and at a time when young Aboriginal men are incarcerated at a rate four times greater than black South Africans at the height of apartheid, it may seem quixotic to focus on the plight of one small Aboriginal corporation in Western Australia. However, the situation faced by Robert and Selina Eggington of the Dumbartung Aboriginal Corporation encapsulates the degrading situation faced by Australia’s First Nation people.
Through the activities of Dumbartung, the Eggingtons have been stalwart servants of their people for nearly 30 years. The offerings of Dumbartung have been multifarious, encompassing healing and cultural programs, the preservation of precious artefacts and historic artistic works, education programs, the organizing of groundbreaking cultural festivals, suicide prevention, political activism, and beyond. That their critical work is not being funded speaks volumes as to the state of Aboriginal affairs in Australia.
This, despite the fact that their hometown state of Western Australia has benefited from a mining boom and buoyant economy through even the worst of the Global Financial Crisis. The relative pittance that Dumbartung requires to provide its essential services is apparently not forthcoming from either the government or private sector.
The following is an in-depth interview with Robert and Selina Eggington, a mini-documentary produced by ImportantCool associate Karun Cowper, with thanks to Zebedee Parkes for camera work and David Sheehan for audio production.