Homelands began in the 1960s in a political climate of increasing recognition of Indigenous rights and progressive reform. Brendan Howden says homelands offer a more successful and sustainable way forward for remote area Aboriginal people than the intervention model.
In essence this is the story of a dispossessed and marginalised people reclaiming their country, culture and lives versus a state and culture hell bent on making them over in their own image.
The shifting fate of Aboriginal homelands in the Northern Territory (NT) has never been more tenuous. Now in the hands of a conservative Territory government that has lost the faith of three of its four remote areas Aboriginal members, it seems perilous. This same government saw fit to allocate only $7 million toward housing on homelands where 30% of the NT’s Aboriginal population live. Contrast the designated community ‘growth towns’, home to 24% of the NT’s Aboriginal people, with $672 million federally and a further $100 million from the NT government for housing. Do the math and it equates to 133:1, odds stacked in these communities’ favour. It begs the question how did we get to this state of affairs?