Egalitarian myth

Submitted Letter to the Editor – The Australian. While celebrating the 40th anniversary of the referendum on indigenous Australians it is fitting to recall your newspaper`s moving editorial on 29 April 1970 which expressed the dark side of the Endeavour, at the time of the Captain Cook Bicentenary. Published 22 years before Prime Minister Paul Keating`s acclaimed Redfern address and holding true today, it read as follows:

“We came bearing Christianity. We also brought rum and smallpox, revolvers and Martini-Henry carbines to slaughter men, women and children who speared the cattle we released on their land. And when we couldn`t kill them we smothered them – withholding education, banning and banishing them. They were easy victories, and we are still winning them – every time we shut our eyes, turn our backs, comfort ourselves with the myth that we are the world`s most egalitarian people.”

“The Aboriginal concept of land is much deeper, more meaningful than ours. Should we celebrate our nationhood while ignoring the schism dividing us?”

Keith McEwan, Banks ACT, CLA member

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