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Maralinga Comes to Lucas Heights

Group of Aboriginal women pictured near the Lucas Heights reactor
Group of Aboriginal women pictured near the Lucas Heights reactor
We are Aboriginal women - Yankunytjatjara, Antikirinya and Kokatha. We know the country.

The poison the Government is talking about will poison the land. We say, "NO radioactive dump in our ngura - in our country." It's strictly poison - we don't want it.

We were born on the earth, not in the hospital. We were born in the sand. Mother never put us in the water and washed us when we were born straight out. They dried us with the sand. Then they put us - newborn baby - fireside, no blankets; they put us in the warm sand. And after that, when the cord comes off, they put us through the smoke. We really know the land.

From a baby we grow up on the land. Never mind our country is the desert - that's where we belong. And we love where we belong, the whole land. We know the stories for the land. The Seven Sisters travelled right across - in the Beginning. They formed the land. It's very important Tjukur - the Law, the Dreaming that must not be disturbed. The Seven Sisters are everywhere. We can give the evidence for what we say - we can show you the dance of the Seven Sisters.

Listen to us! The desert lands are not as dry as you think! Can't the Government plainly see that there is water here. Nothing can live without water. There's a big underground river underneath. We know that the poison from the radio-active dump will go down under the ground and leak into the water. We drink from this water. Only the Government and people like that have tanks. The animals drink from this water - malu - kangaroo, kalaya - emu, porcupine, ngintaka - perentie, goanna and all the others. We eat these animals - that's our meat. We're worried that any of these animals will become poisoned and we'll become poisoned in our turn.

Everywhere there is underground water. We know that. It doesn't matter what station you make the dump on or near. They've all got wells. The sheep and cattle have to drink from the bores. Of course they'll get poisoned in their turn. Can't the pastoralists see that plainly?

The poison the Government is talking about is from Sydney. We say send it back to Sydney. We don't want it! Are they trying to kill us? We're a human being. We're not an animal. We're not a dog. In the old days the white man used to put a poison in the meat - throw them to feed the dogs and they got poisoned - straight out and then they died. Now they want to put the poison in the ground. We want our life.

All or us were living when the Government used the country for the Bomb. Some were living at Twelve Mile, just out from Coober Pedy. The smoke was funny and everything looked hazy. Everybody got sick. Other people were at Mabel Creek and many people got sick. Some of the Old People got really sick and died. Some people were living at Wallatinna. Other people got moved away. Whitefellas and all got sick.

When we were young, no women got breast cancer or any other kind of cancer. Cancer was unheard of with men either. And no asthma we were people without sickness.

The Government thought they knew what they were doing then with that poison then. Now, again they are coming along and telling us poor blackfellas - "Oh, there's nothing that's going to happen, nothing is going to kill you."

And that will still happen like that bomb over there.

And we're worrying for our kids. We've got a lot of kids growing up on the country and still coming more - grandchildren and great grand children. They have to have their life.

We've been fighting against this radio-active waste - this poison - for more than one year. Arguing about it, talking to people, asking people to help us. They might help us, but they'll be really helping themselves. Whitefellas have got kids too, we all have to live in the country.

And then - we really couldn't believe it when we heard them talking about sending the rubbish from all other countries as well!

They must really want to kill us! We can't believe it! How can you live like that.

They're really aiming to wipe the country out - not-just us but all living things in the whole earth!

It's from our grandmothers and our grandfathers that we've learned about the land. This learning isn't written on paper as whitefellas' knowledge is. We carry it instead in our heads and we're talking from our hearts - for the land. You fellas - whitefellas - put us in the back all the time, like we've got no language for the land. But we've got the story for the land.

Listen to us!

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