Land Rights News Central Australia: Land Rights News (October 2011)
Above: Verna Curtis and her grandson meet the postie
Morris Soak signs on for its first postie
Morris Soak (Akngwertnarre) is not only the first town camp to get a postal service, but also the first one to paint over its old blue Intervention sign and replace it with one of its choice.
Morris Soak president Mervyn Franey said he is more hopeful of the direction the governments are taking to include Aboriginal community members in making decisions related to them.
“We applaud the Government for doing that and see it as a bit of good faith that they’re finally listening to the Aboriginal communities right through the Territory that did not or do not want those signs up there.”
“Pulling down that Intervention sign would be better when we pull down the Intervention policy.
“That’s the next step but this is a very good first step,” Mr Franey said.
“Government calls this a day of ‘normalisation’ of our community into the mainstream but we see this as a day of equalisation.
“We are finally getting it done today.
“In this day and age, it’s a bit of a shock to most people, especially those living in the cities down south who are always getting mail delivered,” he said.
The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, and the Minister for Indigenous Health, Warren Snowdon, both joined residents for the unveiling and to welcome the delivery of the first letters under the new postal service.
As well, since there’s no point having letter boxes if there are no street names, workshops were held to select three street names recognising important past and present Morris Soak residents – Lechleitner, Miller and Glenmon.
Along with the new street signs, houses have been numbered and letter boxes installed.
Ms Macklin said the new mail service was an important step in the ongoing work of transforming the town camps.
The new sign includes a painting by Mr Franey, who worked closely with community members on the design.
It depicts the Akngwertnarre Dreaming, including an ancestral dog, as it travels through the community from west to east.
“We wanted a sign that reflects who we are as a community and as the custodians of this land here.”
Mr Franey hopes other communities can use Morris Soak as an example and suggested they all put up the story of their community.