In amongst the many words written in many places about the “Little Children are Sacred” report into the sexual abuse of Aboriginal children in the Northern Territory, there is one small point but fairly important point which I haven’t seen much mention of. In a way it links to one of the issues I raised in a past post on Aboriginal languages.
Part of recommendation 93 of the report was “that the Overview section be translated into the nine main Aboriginal languages in the Northern Territory, published in an appropriate format and distributed to communities throughout the Territory.”
I understand this task is underway, but has yet to be completed. While the rest of the nation goes on at length about the subject of the report and how to respond to it, many of the people who the report is most directly about and who are most directly affected by it have yet to be able to read it in their own languages.
Despite the federal government originally vilifying people who called for consultation and engagement with Aboriginal in implementing their response to the report, Minister Mal Brough is now making comments indicating that decisions about implemention on some key issues, like alcohol restrictions on communities, may now be made by the people at local level.
“we’ve said all along (sic?!) they’re the sort of things we want to work with communities.”
This new view of Minister Brough’s supporting local involement in decision making is a very good thing – if it turns out to be what actually occurs. However, to have the best chance at getting fully effective engagement and cooperation, it would help if everyone was reading from the same report, which includes people being able to read it and hear about it in their own languages.