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Souvenir shenanigans at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy?

By nanzan - 30 July 2010 36

Something is brewing at the Tent Embassy and it has to do with souvenirs.

On a recent visit I noticed that the area around the mosaic at the Tent Embassy is now decked out with tables selling all manner of Australiana souvenirs. There is new handmade signage directing people to the items on sale and that the proceeds go to the Tent Embassy, including for the purchase of firewood for the sacred fire. Several “donation” boxes are in place for people to pop their money into.

However, I have been informed, that the people behind the souvenirs – which include Aboriginal-themed paintings and other craft items – are not connected with the Tent Embassy in any way, and that they have only set up shop there in the last couple of weeks, and that although they have set up a caravan and tents at the Embassy, and are staying there, they do not have approval for this from either the Tent Embassy community or the NCA.

(The look – and the authenticity – of the place is not enhanced by the fact that the new signage for all the goods on sale is replete with spelling errors – with words such as “table”, “sacred” and “please” all misspelt – which must be confusing for overseas visitors! The suggestion was also made to me that the souvenirs are far from genuine – and had been purchased elsewhere at a much lower price.)

This is a very interesting development in the aftermath of the closure of the Old Parliament House shop at the start of July. Is this a case of someone cashing in on the lack of commercial facilities at Old Parliament House, especially the provision of souvenirs and other Australiana items to visitors from abroad and school students – who of course visit OPH in droves?

ED: While we’re on the subject of the Tent Embassy Hank had this to say:

I just came back from a meeting and noticed some of the occupants at the tent embassy at Old Parliament house had some pet dogs that were fighting one another. Although I have no problems with them I was curious to the rules on keeping pets there?

What’s Your opinion?


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Souvenir shenanigans at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy?
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UrbanAdventure.org 9:37 pm 31 Jul 10

georgesgenitals said :

Incidentally, who was it that first called what’s there now “The Tent Embassy”?

I do belive that would be Michael Anderson, Gary Foley and Chica Dixon.

georgesgenitals 8:59 pm 31 Jul 10

Jim Jones said :

The entire point behind the tent embassy is that it symbolises the outsider status of Indigenous people in Australia.It functions as a reminder of the poor status of indigenous people in Australia.

The idea of removing it because ‘it’s an eyesore’ is ironic in so many ways. Not entirely like the way early European settlers in Australia removed the indigenous people, because they were ‘inconvenient’. The way that the government (and bulk of the people) of Australia is typified by this ‘eyesore’ attitude. It’s a problem that people don’t want to look at or think about.

Getting rid of the tent embassy and putting the whole thing into some easily ignorable concrete building out of the public eye would be nothing but another instance of removing an embarrassing truth away from view.

WMC has presented a ‘history lesson’ for you to learn from. You can either choose to learn more about this issue and present an informed view, or bollocks about with the whole ‘my opinion is valid no matter how poorly informed it is’ crap.

It’s worth pointing out that the latter view is the reason why Australian politics is up the sh1tter at the moment – because politicians are pandering to ignorant populism rather than addressing the actual problems of the nation: there’s a lot of talk about ‘stopping the boats’ in this election, but I haven’t heard anyone mention indigenous affairs.

Thanks for repeating the intent of post#24.

I actually thought the history lesson was a good effort. Doesn’t change my opinion, but well thought out nonetheless.

Jim Jones 5:04 pm 31 Jul 10

I-filed said :

Yarramundi Reach. Massively funded by the taxpayer.

Because we all know that Aboriginals aren’t ‘real Australian taxpayers’ and shouldn’t have any money spent on them.

Mr Evil 4:38 pm 31 Jul 10

Jim Jones said :

The entire point behind the tent embassy is that it symbolises the outsider status of Indigenous people in Australia.It functions as a reminder of the poor status of indigenous people in Australia.

The idea of removing it because ‘it’s an eyesore’ is ironic in so many ways. Not entirely like the way early European settlers in Australia removed the indigenous people, because they were ‘inconvenient’. The way that the government (and bulk of the people) of Australia is typified by this ‘eyesore’ attitude. It’s a problem that people don’t want to look at or think about.

Getting rid of the tent embassy and putting the whole thing into some easily ignorable concrete building out of the public eye would be nothing but another instance of removing an embarrassing truth away from view.

WMC has presented a ‘history lesson’ for you to learn from. You can either choose to learn more about this issue and present an informed view, or bollocks about with the whole ‘my opinion is valid no matter how poorly informed it is’ crap.

It’s worth pointing out that the latter view is the reason why Australian politics is up the sh1tter at the moment – because politicians are pandering to ignorant populism rather than addressing the actual problems of the nation: there’s a lot of talk about ‘stopping the boats’ in this election, but I haven’t heard anyone mention indigenous affairs.

“All was dark and horrid in Australia because of the Liberals, until Kevin from Queensland came along and said sorry to the stolen generations. All the lefties in the land danced about joyously, clapped hands and fell at the feet of this great, great man who’d stood up for the downtrodden Aborigines and made things right, just like Big ted did in ’72. Meanwhile, life was suddenly so much brighter for all Aborigines: no more petrol sniffing, no more dying by 45, no more domestic violence, no more fiddling with the kiddies – and welfare quarantining was continued to help them save up for their own plasma televisions, just like the ones those kind white people own.

But then, along came an evil bow-legged witch from Werribee, with a horrid voice, dyed red hair and slits for eyes came along and stabbed Kevin from Queensland in the back 350 times while he was otherwise occupied looking for his mirror and hair dryer…………”

(to be continued….)

I-filed 4:28 pm 31 Jul 10

“Why can’t they have a building with proper facilities to give them the opportunity to display their culture and to provide them with an administrative base for supporting their movement?”

Georges @ 11: they do. Yarramundi Reach. Massively funded by the taxpayer.

Jim Jones 4:07 pm 31 Jul 10

The entire point behind the tent embassy is that it symbolises the outsider status of Indigenous people in Australia.It functions as a reminder of the poor status of indigenous people in Australia.

The idea of removing it because ‘it’s an eyesore’ is ironic in so many ways. Not entirely like the way early European settlers in Australia removed the indigenous people, because they were ‘inconvenient’. The way that the government (and bulk of the people) of Australia is typified by this ‘eyesore’ attitude. It’s a problem that people don’t want to look at or think about.

Getting rid of the tent embassy and putting the whole thing into some easily ignorable concrete building out of the public eye would be nothing but another instance of removing an embarrassing truth away from view.

WMC has presented a ‘history lesson’ for you to learn from. You can either choose to learn more about this issue and present an informed view, or bollocks about with the whole ‘my opinion is valid no matter how poorly informed it is’ crap.

It’s worth pointing out that the latter view is the reason why Australian politics is up the sh1tter at the moment – because politicians are pandering to ignorant populism rather than addressing the actual problems of the nation: there’s a lot of talk about ‘stopping the boats’ in this election, but I haven’t heard anyone mention indigenous affairs.

Davo111 2:20 pm 31 Jul 10

I have no issues with putting a bulldozer through the tent embassy.

Not really tents if one of the items in a shipping container

georgesgenitals 1:58 pm 31 Jul 10

Jim Jones said :

That’s pretty pissweak argument: ‘it’s an eyesore’ and ‘oooh you’re calling me names waaaaah’. What’s next, telling the teacher?

I’m not claiming it to be a tight, bulletproof argument – it’s just an opinion. Perhaps you could offer one of your own instead of waiting on the sidelines while a discussion progresses shouting “yeah, what he said”. What’s your opinion on this? All you’ve offered is a couple of motherhood statements that say nothing about the Tent Embassy itself.

You may have noticed that I don’t do great diatribes with heaps of research – it’s because I don’t take this site very seriously. This thread is no different. I think the Tent Embassy is an eyesore and should go. I’d like to see something a bit more dignified and positive in it’s place. If nothing happens, though, my life isn’t going to change much.

But no doubt you’ve got all the answers, so let’s hear ’em, JJ.

Jim Jones 9:54 am 31 Jul 10

That’s pretty pissweak argument: ‘it’s an eyesore’ and ‘oooh you’re calling me names waaaaah’. What’s next, telling the teacher?

georgesgenitals 6:58 am 31 Jul 10

Woody Mann-Caruso said :

didn’t say build an embassy, I said a building with proper facilities. It would need to be called something that actually relected their movement. Incidentally, who was it that first called what’s there now “The Tent Embassy”?

I don’t know why I bother, because you’re one of the most deliberately ignorant people on this site, and you seem to be proud of it:

Just think about what you typed for a second. It’s the tent embassy. You want to replace it with something that ‘actually re(f)lected their movement’. But not an embassy. But they’re the tent embassy. Do you see the problem here? The only thing that will replace the embassy is…wait for it…an embassy. Have a guess what the odds of that happening are?

Now lest you think you’re the first straight-thinking, common-sense fast thinker to come up with this idea of just throwing a building at them, it’s been tried and failed for decades – Hunt in 72, Cavanagh in 74, Macdonald in 99 – all rejected. Because a building wouldn’t do what the tent embassy does – serve as a never-ending eyesore to remind you of why they’re really there.

And you can’t trot out the old ‘the tent embassy doesn’t represent ‘real’ Aborigines’ diatribe either, because that was also done to death in the 70s. McMahon tried to claim his National Conference of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Councillors was truly representative – unfortunately for him, the first thing they did was make the tent embassy reps delegates. Pity about that.

As for ‘who first called it an embassy’ – the founders called it that. They hung a sign that said ’embassy’ on the tent: “this is an embassy: the Prime Minister’s statement yesterday effectively makes us aliens in our own land, so like the other aliens we need an embassy.” McMahon had a fit, and he should have.

Learn your history before you bother trying to ‘contribute’ next time.

Wow – a history lesson, thanks man! My opinion is what it is. The current embassy is an eyesore. Others having the same thought process in the past doesn’t change that. Would allocating space for a building change things? Possibly. Would it change things? Maybe. For the better? Who knows. But right now it doesn’t seem like anything is changing

“I don’t know why I bother, because you’re one of the most deliberately ignorant people on this site, and you seem to be proud of it:”

Thanks for dragging (yet) another thread down into personal attacks and name calling. I don’t know why I bother, because you’re one of the most deliberately arrogant people on this site, and you seem to be proud of it.

Pandy 12:43 am 31 Jul 10

If you want to live like a king, become a footballer.

OpenYourMind 10:35 pm 30 Jul 10

Many Aboriginals find walking on Uluru and other sacred sites to be an affront. Many white Australians understand and respect that affront. I wonder if Aboriginals were told that camping on the lawns of old parly house was an equal affront to many Australians if similar respect would be returned.

Woody Mann-Caruso 10:09 pm 30 Jul 10

didn’t say build an embassy, I said a building with proper facilities. It would need to be called something that actually relected their movement. Incidentally, who was it that first called what’s there now “The Tent Embassy”?

I don’t know why I bother, because you’re one of the most deliberately ignorant people on this site, and you seem to be proud of it:

Just think about what you typed for a second. It’s the tent embassy. You want to replace it with something that ‘actually re(f)lected their movement’. But not an embassy. But they’re the tent embassy. Do you see the problem here? The only thing that will replace the embassy is…wait for it…an embassy. Have a guess what the odds of that happening are?

Now lest you think you’re the first straight-thinking, common-sense fast thinker to come up with this idea of just throwing a building at them, it’s been tried and failed for decades – Hunt in 72, Cavanagh in 74, Macdonald in 99 – all rejected. Because a building wouldn’t do what the tent embassy does – serve as a never-ending eyesore to remind you of why they’re really there.

And you can’t trot out the old ‘the tent embassy doesn’t represent ‘real’ Aborigines’ diatribe either, because that was also done to death in the 70s. McMahon tried to claim his National Conference of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Councillors was truly representative – unfortunately for him, the first thing they did was make the tent embassy reps delegates. Pity about that.

As for ‘who first called it an embassy’ – the founders called it that. They hung a sign that said ’embassy’ on the tent: “this is an embassy: the Prime Minister’s statement yesterday effectively makes us aliens in our own land, so like the other aliens we need an embassy.” McMahon had a fit, and he should have.

Learn your history before you bother trying to ‘contribute’ next time.

I-filed 10:07 pm 30 Jul 10

well I’m just jealous that there have been cars parked there next to the tents all day for weeks now and no tickets!

astrojax 9:19 pm 30 Jul 10

calls to send in the jackboots and bulldozers is hardly simply ‘highlighting genuine touchy issues’ (whatever they are).

H1NG0 6:13 pm 30 Jul 10

And calling people rednecks for highlighting genuine “touchy” issues is just as racist. If you want to compare apples with apples, there it is.

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