In this clip Jimmy Little talks about the importance of the recently passed Civil Rights Bill in the Northern Territory, the destruction of Aboriginal peoples’ cultural landscape and way of life, the impact of pastoralism on their land, the role of the missions and government reserves and the displacement and despair of Aboriginal people.
This clip highlights the issues Aboriginal peoples in Central Australia faced in the 1960s, as the pressure of assimilation bears down upon them. Removed from their lands, families and cultures and placed into government reserves or Christian missions, Aboriginal peoples suffered great emotional pain and physical hardship.
Jimmy Little’s voice-over is aimed at making us accept as fact that Aboriginal people represent a ‘dying culture’ that can only be saved by the intervention of the missions. All the while the camera voyeuristically follows people on a community. They are shown in European clothes and not engaged in any obvious activity. This is meant to reinforce the idea of a lost or defeated people with little future. It makes for discomforting and dispiriting viewing.
Ironically, with hindsight we can see the assumption of the narration was wrong. Instead of discarding their cultural knowledge, traditions and practices, Aboriginal elders passed on the wealth of their cultural heritage to their descendants so it could survive.