The world-famous Kimberley region is under threat, with mining and big agriculture driving an unprecedented land grab. What will be left of over 200 remote Aboriginal communities?
Undermined: Tales From The Kimberley investigates what is happening in an area now branded “the future economic powerhouse of Australia,” and what this means for traditional owners, traditional lands and unique Indigenous cultures.
The film follows young leader Albert Wiggan, veteran cattleman Kevin Oscar and Senior Elder June Davis through David-and-Goliath battles to preserve their homelands, asking the question: for whose benefit is this development?
Albert Wiggan, Alfie White and Merle Carter are three traditional owners to be affected. While Senior Elder Merle has seen it all, including the government’s closure of Oomulgurri in 2011, cultural boss Alfie is shocked by a new assault on his rights, recently evicted from his country despite his native title. Young icon Albert takes a fresh approach to fighting for his homelands, touring the world with John Butler as a musician and activist, between on-country protests.
This is a distinctly Australian story, but international in scope. In 2015 the Kimberley Land Council’s trip to the UN went viral and protestors took to the streets and social media around the world. As the fight against the Dakota Pipeline becomes an international campaign, questions of Indigenous rights in the contemporary moment demand answers.
Between ecological uncertainty and the race to tap natural resources, who gets to define what meaningful negotiation looks like? What is the path to social justice for Aboriginal peoples? And as pressure from industry exposes the limits of Aboriginal land rights, what will remain of over 200 remote Aboriginal communities?
About the Kimberley
The Kimberley region of North Western Australia covers an area of 420,000 square kilometres and is recognised as one of the world’s most ecologically diverse areas, with one of the last pristine coastlines left on Earth. 75% of long-term residents are Aboriginal, from 34 different language groups (or nations). Their stories and ecological knowledge are recorded in tens of thousands of rock art sites dotted across the dramatic Kimberley landscape. Approximately half the Aboriginal population now lives in 200 remote Aboriginal communities varying in size from 20 to 900 people.
94% of the Kimberley landmass is subject to a native title claim or determination, which is the greatest of any region in Australia. The federal Native Title Act was designed to recognise the rights and interests of Aboriginal people to their traditional homelands after the famous victory in 1992 of Eddie Mabo in the High Court, which for the first time threw out the colonial legal doctrine of terra nullius, or ‘empty country’, in favour of the rightful claims of Australia’s Aboriginal people. The Act affords Traditional Owners a set of rights to access their country for traditional purposes (hunting, fishing, gathering and ceremony), however it does not provide actual land tenure.
- Albert Wiggan
- Release dates
- 8 August 2018 - Australia (world premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival)
21 February 2019 – Australia
- MA 15+ - Mature accompanied
- Simon Walbrook
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