"Over many years, Nauiyu earned a well-deserved reputation as an Indigenous showpiece. Its leadership was strong, the community well maintained, houses regularly refurbished. Adults were in employment and children mostly at school. Visitors were welcome for fishing and festivals. Nauiyu was a community with much pride." Clare Martin
Adversity Faced by Nauiyu
Here is an example of what Indigenous peoples face as a result of the Northern Territory (NT) Intervention, which started in 2007 and continues today. The article appeared in The Saturday Newspaper. Yon can see Pip Gordon’s comment about this article – as on her facebook page - in the right column.
‘Minding the Indigenous education gap’ by Clare Martin
The small community of Nauiyu sits on the banks of the mighty Daly River, 230 kilometres south-west of Darwin. Its history is as a Catholic mission and its traditional owners are the Malak-Malak people. There are two schools - one Catholic, one government - and a population of about 500 people.
Over many years, Nauiyu earned a well-deserved reputation as an Indigenous showpiece. Its leadership was strong, the community well maintained, houses regularly refurbished. Adults were in employment and children mostly at school. Visitors were welcome for fishing and festivals. Nauiyu was a community with much pride.
Based on that strong reputation, I imagine that if any community is on track to meet national Closing the Gap targets in education, it will be one of the two schools in Nauiyu, especially since neither has been pinpointed by the federal government’s Remote School Attendance Strategy that started last year.
I choose St Francis Xavier School and go to the My School website. The most up-to-date figures are from 2013 and they are a shock. Not only was attendance at 65 per cent but the literacy and numeracy results were so poor that they were below the reporting threshold. Against national NAPLAN benchmarks, the 60 students enrolled at St Francis Xavier are failing badly.
I decide to drive out to the Daly to find out what is happening. My first visit is to Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann, Indigenous educator, artist, community leader and principal of St Francis Xavier School for 13 years up until 2007. Keeping her community strong and educating Indigenous children has been her life’s passion, one for which she’s been awarded an Order of Australia…
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‘This article is in today’s Saturday Paper. A great and very real article about Nauiyu Community in Daly River. It talks about the impact of the Intervention.
Perhaps the Intervention is something not many think about when outside the NT, but being up here now and seeing the impact from the Intervention first hand... it breaks my heart!
I ask myself... people talk about Australia being 'the lucky country'... far from it for Aboriginal folk in the NT. It makes me sick to my stomach and the saddest part… is I wonder whether all the people down south even know what the impacts are in this country... or even care?
But Miriam Rose Ungunmeer doesn't give up... how do you ever give up on your family, or your children? And what she asks is for us to Connect and Grow in Belonging together.' Pip Gordon
One interesting part of this Story is that the reporter of that Story, Clare Martin, used to be the Northern Territory Chief Minister. She has now admitted that ‘some policies she championed have harmed a small indigenous community formerly seen as a success story.” Having read about the situation, I think ‘some’ is rather an understatement.
You can also gain some insight into the situation in Nauiyu by reading the ABC article Daly River’s unemployed face disappointment and despair.
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