[Linux-aus] Acknowledgement of country

Russell Coker russell at coker.com.au
Thu Nov 5 16:26:16 AEDT 2015

On Thu, 5 Nov 2015 01:20:09 PM David Lloyd wrote:
> Do you  mean:
> 1.       Acknowledgement of a country's indigenous people?

Of course I meant that.  It is the one that fills all the first page of google 
responses for the topic.

> I believe there is a place for (1) in some circumstances. In my limited
> experience, events run by progressive, left leaning organisations, those
> affiliated with the ALP (1) or those closely associated with relevant
> environmental protection tend to run with these types of openings. Within a

The Linux/FOSS community is generally left leaning.

> what could be argued one or more displaced peoples. However, having only
> the opening, with no substance would have made little sense - an empty
> gesture to say, "we acknowledge you but allowing you to welcome us at our
> [insert event here]" is all we'll do. In that experience, though, I did

It's still much better than nothing, and there's still a lot of white people 
who want to give absolutely nothing to indiginous people.

> Should some of the events that Linux Australia run or sponsor open with an
> indigenous welcome? I think that's on a case by case basis. However, let's
> take one of Linux Australia's major events - Linux.Conf.Au - and ponder if
> it could be relevant. It is, by all means, a major event. There are

LCA 2008 had an Acknowledgement of Country.  Donna says that she wasn't the 
first LCA organiser to do this.  I recall that there was no controversy at all 
when Donna did it (regardless of whether she was first or not).

> Does opening a user group invite action to redress the problems of
> indigenous people? I'll leave that up for discussion.

The discussion has already happened many times in many places.  The result of 
the discussion has been implemented in the Federal government.


Above is the RMIT policy.


Above is the Deakin Uni policy.


Above is the Melbourne Uni policy.

> Is that culture sustained by an acknowledgement to country or welcome to
> all?

I don't think that we need white people to provide answers to such questions.  
I think that decent white people will take note of the recommendations by 
organisations such as Murrup Barak.  Aboriginals really don't need more white 
people telling them what's best for them.

> Maybe, but I'm not sure. In fact, despite we have a hideously colonial
> second verse in our national anthem that declares we have room for those
> who've come across the seas, it still seems the case that this is really
> only true if you're a western, generally white person. Asians are welcome,
> if they buy our land or they pay our universities. But one could hardly
> call the Australian people's treatment of incoming refugees as a stellar
> example of welcoming. I deliberately say the Australian people and not the
> Australian Government because guess who you elect the Government to
> represent? You. The Australian people.

I agree that there are significant problems with racism in Australia.

> In this case, a welcome to all to Australia could sound a little, well,
> odd.

Your argument that we should refrain from doing anything to address racism 
because Australia has too many racists is bizarre.

> However, I think what we can detect in what I've been saying, is that it's
> more the doing, the acting, the giving and the work than the words. Yes,
> words are important - especially when working with displaced peoples. Their
> strength is unparalleled both to raise people up and bring people down. In
> Tolkien's world, words were one of Saruman the Wise's strength and he kept
> that strength even after he fell from power due to the action of the
> fellowship and the ents. However, it is arguable that the humility of
> Gandalf the Grey practised by actually doing, by his strong belief that it
> took more than words but actions, support, love, care won the day out in
> Tolkien's fantasy world.


One way of recognising when white people get wildly off track when talking 
about race is when they need to use made-up races.  But if you really want to 
explore that sort of thing then you could start by reading pages such as the 
above where non-white people write about their D&D experiences.

My Main Blog         http://etbe.coker.com.au/
My Documents Blog    http://doc.coker.com.au/

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