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We, the Arrernte leaders and families of Children’s Ground...

Stand strong against the serious violence towards First Nations women that has resulted in an epidemic of missing and murdered women across this country.

This is not a new problem; many First Nations women have spoken about this issue for many years.

We live this reality.

Violence has been a part of our lives since colonisation, over 200 years ago. This is an issue for not only our women, but our men and children.

Far too often, the men in our lives are the perpetrators. Our men own this responsibility. Our men are saying, “we need to change and stop violence; it is not part of our culture.”

But this issue alone is not their sole responsibility.

The current system was created through racism, shaming, and violence. Through the denial of our culture and our ownership of Country.

We have lost many things: our languages, our rights, our families. There are many issues affecting First Nations men. Families are too often experiencing grief and trauma and despair; we see this every day.

If we are to stop violence against our women, it has to start with the systems that oppress our people and create the conditions for harm. Mainstream media and the public turn a blind eye to the issues of family and domestic violence. Their only offer of a solution is to “lock ‘em up.”

This is a response that changes nothing and often creates more harm. Too long have we been told that family and domestic violence is a part of our culture, our way of life.

We are taking a stand now! This is not our culture. This is the impact of the injustices that we have faced for generations.

We stand together to support each other. We recognise the work of our fellow First Nations leaders, like Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar who released Wiyi Yani U Thangani, an important report about our women. The report highlights our pain as well as our strengths and our solutions.

We recognise the incredible work of our grandmothers and women across the country.

At Children’s Ground, we know the answers lie in our communities and through our power, voice, and leadership.

We are creating a safe place for our children, mothers, and fathers to learn and grow alongside each other, in our culture.

Men and women are working together with our Elders and our young people. Safety will only come when we are physically safe, culturally safe, emotionally safe, and economically safe. Our solution is preventative and creates opportunities for the next generation. Our families have solid answers to our problems.

We have the answers, they are in our culture and our strength as First Nations people. We want to work with all governments to make sure they respond to this crisis. But this crisis will only end when we achieve real control over our lives, respect for our knowledge and culture, justice, and dignity. We need Government to listen to us now.

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Statement by Arrernte leaders and families of Children’s Ground
— Posted on 28 Oct 2022