Monday 25th of May 2020

your laws are killing us...

 hand... Policing has played and continues to play a critical role in dispossession in a way that works to displace self-determination as a real option for Aboriginal peoples on their own countries. While we await the trial, the law will begin to do its work in transmuting witness reports, forensic data and all other information into evidence. Evidence is crucial to establish facts, ascribe guilt or absolve a defendant. But this other evidence relates to the culpability of a colonial system which has resulted in Aboriginal death, and not just to the actions of an individual officer.

Sophie Trivett, a lawyer working in the Northern Territory representing Aboriginal people, has recently made this compelling claim:

I want you to understand that it wasn’t bad luck that saw Kumanjayi Walker shot and killed by police. It was the devastating, completely unsurprising, unforgivable natural conclusion of a system that has seen 424 First Nations people die in custody since the end of the royal commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody.

Trivett’s article is a type of testimony. She works in law in order to seek justice for Indigenous peoples within the machinery of colonial law. Her evidence — which, I would suggest, speaks to the culpability of the law itself — comes from her direct interactions with communities but can be admitted nowhere legally. Her hope is that the broader population will care that the people with whom she has worked:

begged for things to do — anything — in youth detention to help them get ready to face the world when they were released. They asked for Tafe courses and job-ready programs. They asked for anger management courses to help them stay calm. They asked for time out bush and ways to connect with culture. They asked for Aboriginal staff who understood them and who spoke their language. They asked for family.

Trivett says we are all implicated in this system that her testimony reveals as an aggressor against Indigenous peoples. Colonial laws are an integral part of this system. At the Adelaide rally I heard more calls from the community: “We don’t need this Government, we have been governing this place for millennia!” One placard read: “Your laws are killing us.”


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Gus: When I was last in Yuendumu, the community was tight-knit, dry (no alcohol), proud — and self-policing. It seems that no one would place a wrong foot forward, especially visitors who had to have mutual respect to be accepted.

one death too many...

Royal Commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody

A royal commission in 1987 investigated Aboriginal deaths in custody over a 10-year period, giving over 330 recommendations. Its recommendations are still valid today, but very few have been implemented. Every year, Aboriginal people continue to die in custody.

Source: Royal Commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody - Creative Spirits, retrieved from

and another one...

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that the following article contains names and descriptions of people who have died.

An Aboriginal woman has died in prison in Victoria less than two days after she was remanded in custody.

Key points
  • The Coroner is investigating after the woman was found dead in her cell on January 2
  • Advocates say her death raises questions about Victoria's "over-burdened" justice system
  • More than 400 Indigenous people have died in custody since the royal commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody in 1991


Her death, reportedly while she was withdrawing from drugs, has devastated friends and family, Indigenous leaders and criminal justice advocates. 

The Department of Justice and Community Safety confirmed the 37-year-old woman was found deceased in her cell at the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre on Thursday, January 2. 

"As with all deaths in custody, the Coroner will investigate and formally determine the cause of death," a department spokesperson told ABC News. "As the matter is the subject of an ongoing coronial investigation, it would be inappropriate to comment."

The woman, who had been on a Community Corrections Order and was charged with shoplifting, was refused bail after representing herself at Melbourne Magistrates' Court on December 31 and remanded at the maximum security women's prison. 

Lawyers and prison support workers told ABC News that some of their clients in the prison believed the woman was withdrawing from drugs when she arrived, and said they heard someone crying out for help during the night before she was found dead.

Criminal law specialist Ann Valos said she had spoken by phone earlier this week to one of her clients who she said had been "traumatised" by the incident.


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