Monday, May 28, 2012

Faces of the Sovereignty Meeting

Brian and I were honoured to meet the leaders of this dynamic movement.  Peter from the Brisbane Tent Embassy was a joy to talk to and so warm and generous.  This clip here does not do his eloquence justice.  And Dootch, what a generous and sweet man.  We met his son and grandchildren who were so inspiring.

This space of academic brilliance and tenacity,  wisdom and story, and opportunities for going through misunderstanding- this beautiful place; waiting for the dark times to be acknowledged - and grieved.  Maybe together we can heal.  But my whitefella brothers and sisters...we HAVE TO move out of the way- all the way out- and honour the space, time, breathing room and trust the First People to create what they need for their own lives, liberties and pursuits of happiness.  Maybe then "us vs. them" will have a chance to become "we".

*This video was shot by Jeremy Geia from NITV

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Declaration of Sovereignty for Indigenous Australians

It began with a smoking ceremony, and then the wind followed by rain, but what happened on this day is one of the most inspirational creations of this lifetime...

Act of Sovereign Union

between First Nations and Peoples in Australia
Whereas in the course of human events and history there are times when it becomes absolutely necessary for one Nation or People to dissolve the political and legal bonds which have connected them with another;
Whereas we now call upon the powers of the Creators of the DREAMING to enforce the natural authority that establishes a decent respect of humankind. It is required that we should declare the causes which impel us to the separation from our oppressor and to now declare our unity under our DREAMING and songlines, as we have since time immemorial;
Whereas we hold the Law of the Dreaming, as evidence of authority that all people are born equal, and that they were granted by the Creator certain sovereign inalienable rights; among these are the right to life, liberty, the right to maintain the Law of the DREAMING and the pursuit of spiritual wholeness and personal wellbeing;
Whereas to secure these rights in the modern world, governments are instituted among different Nations and Peoples, deriving their just powers from the consent of the people and the spiritual authority of the Dreaming. Whenever any form of government becomes destructive, it is the right of the Peoples to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, ensuring that at the very foundation of this process are principles based upon the rule of Law of the Peoples and organising its powers to ensure the most pleasing of outcomes for peaceful existence, safety of the Peoples' happiness and wellbeing;
Whereas prudence will dictate that governments long established should, without prejudice, support the objective of the Peoples who choose to exercise their inalienable sovereign right to be governed by their own peers in accordance with their Laws and under their authority;
Whereas all experience has shown that humankind is more disposed to suffer, while the wrongs are sufferable, than to correct them by abolishing the entrenched subjugation. But, when a long train of abuses and usurpations derides the rights of Peoples, which reduces them to absolute despotism, it is the right of the oppressed, it is their sacred duty, to reject and throw off such tyrannical governance and to provide new guards for their future security and to pursue their own goals and objectives. Such has been the patient sufferance of First Nations Peoples of this island continent now known as Australia; and such is now the necessity which requires us to dispel the existing destructive systems that oppress us; and to reinforce our own systems of governance, in accordance with our Law of the DREAMING;
We resolve to adopt and adhere to the following Statement of Principles:
  1. Our Peoples are equal in dignity and rights to all other Peoples, while recognising the rights of all other Peoples to be different and to be respected as such.
  2. We recognise that the diversity of Nations and other Peoples contributes to cultures and civilisations, which constitute the heritage of all humankind.
  3. As First Nations and Peoples we assert the right to freely exercise our basic human rights free from discrimination of any kind.
  4. It is recognised and accepted that we as First Nations Peoples have been deprived of our basic human rights and fundamental freedoms, which resulted from British colonisation and dispossession.
  5. The colonial usurpation of our lands, waters, and natural resources has prevented us from exercising our right to development in accordance with our sovereign inherent cultural, socio-economic and spiritual interest in these modern times.
  6. As First Nations and Peoples it is our sovereign inherent right to have control of our lands, including our natural resources, our environment, our waters, which is derived from our ancient political, economic, religious and social structures in accordance with our culture, Law and philosophies.
  7. It is our inherent sovereign right to declare and advance our interests in all lands, waters, natural resources, subsurface and airspace as decreed by our DREAMINGS and songlines, through our obligation to Mother Earth and Creation.
  8. We have an ancient inherent obligation to protect our heritage and to control and regulate its use.
  9. It is recognised and accepted that we have an ancient sovereign inherent right to protect, control and regulate our ancient practices that ensure their sustainability and thereby establishes equity in development and management of our natural environment and ecosystems.
  10. We recognise and accept that our Nations and Peoples have a sovereign inherent right to freely determine our future and way of life, with each other and with other sovereign nation states, in a spirit of co-existence and co-operation, thereby ensuring mutual benefit and respect.
  11. Any and all such agreements, arrangements, 'treaties' shall be consistent with all international laws that govern human rights and human interaction.
  12. We have a right to engage all human rights covenants and conventions in order to promote our hopes and aspirations as Nations and Peoples.
  13. Nothing in this set of principles may be used to deny any Nations or Peoples their sovereign inherent rights to freely pursue their right of self-determination while asserting sovereignty.
  14. This statement of principles is a step forward for the recognition, promotion and protection of our sovereign inherent rights and freedoms in respect to our future development and wellbeing.
Signed this 24th day of May 2012 at Kuradji Aboriginal Embassy, Sandon Point, New South Wales

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

National Unity Government Conference on Indigenous Sovereignty

We've just left Uluru and are in Newcastle, the very first convict settlement in Australia.  This is the first place the language of the people was lost.

Tomorrow we go to Wollongong for the National Unity Government conference and the Sovereignty Meet-up at Sandon Point Tent Embassy...Stay tuned.

Until then, please feel free to pass this on, it's a letter from Uncle Bob Randall of Mutijulu Community:
Dear friends, family, and global brothers and sisters,

Please watch this video of my brother, Djiniyini of Elcho Island, Arnhem Land.
We need the help of the world! 

Jenny Macklin, as Minister for Aboriginal Affairs of the current Australian government is trying to destroy the Aboriginal people and our culture by continued implementation of a tragically damaging policy known as "The Intervention."  We have been against it from day one because it is based on falsehood and lies. So many of our people are dying and sick under this policy and our voices continue to be ignored and discounted. The government ignores our needs and human rights as Indigenous peoples as defined under the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Why is the Australian Government not held accountable to uphold and implement the U.N.Declaration which they signed in front of the world? How can the Australian government continue to enforce policy that is destroying our culture-the same culture that is exploited as the backbone of the tourism industry in Australia? 

The Intervention is a euphemism for genocide. Our people are suffering under the rule of government authority that justifies their actions without respectful consultation or negotiation. Hitler did the same. We need the attention and help from our global family. These politically motivated gross human rights violations must be exposed and confronted. Please listen to my brother. Our people don't deserve to die under a modern system that doesn't understand or choose to listen and understand. 

With my love and gratitude, Uncle Bob Randall

This is a very important  Please distribute far and wide.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Jeff McMullen article- Jenny Macklin and her big stick...

This article tells the real story of Jenny Macklin the, minister for Aboriginal Affairs, and her "stronger futures" legislation that could DECIMATE a culture.  This has to be protested.

Martin Luther King said, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere"...well, this is it.  This injustice is going to kill more Indigenous people and make government workers and mining companies richer.  Is this the heart of darkness in Congo or the Amazon?  No, it's the 3rd world Northern Territory communities under the thumb of a racist, assimilationist government in "1st world" Australia:’s-intervention/

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Rev Dr Djiniyini Gondarra's response on behalf of Northern Territory people

Response to the Prime Minister Julia Gillard's announcement of 

a Second Intervention in the Northern Territory

The Government and the people of Australia are only able to achieve true reconciliation with Aboriginal people of the Northern Territory if the environment for negotiation is changed and justice, that was so brutally removed by the Intervention, is restored. Only through respectful dialogue and working together can we call Australia a nation based on the principles of democracy.

Future negotiations will rely upon:
  1. The Aboriginal people in the 73 prescribed communities of the Northern Territory do not welcome any further consultation with the Government until it acknowledges the failures of the current Intervention.
  2. The Aboriginal people of the Northern Territory will only endorse a new initiative by the Government to improve the lives of Aboriginal people if the Government first establishes a diplomatic and respectful dialogue, negotiation and relationship with the traditional lawmen and lawwomen in the communities to be affected. These are the people that are seen as the true leaders by their communities, who are charged with maintaining ceremony, language, law and order. They must be properly consulted before any new initiative can take place in their communities.
  3. The name "Intervention" and "Emergency Response" must be removed from any future initiative, which should instead focus on the goals of Education and Empowerment of Aboriginal People in the Northern Territory. It must dispel the prejudice and racial discrimination of Aboriginal people that is embedded in the Intervention, and which has created deep emotional pain and shame amongst Aboriginal people.
  4. Any initiative aimed at education and training must support the right of Aboriginal people to maintain their Indigenous languages, cultural practices and the capacity to live and work on country.
  5. To effectively support appropriate and beneficial development in Aboriginal communities, the Government must replace Government Business Managers with mentors that support and facilitate education, capacity-building and locally-controlled development in Aboriginal communities.

This is the will of the Aboriginal people of the Northern Territory.

Released by: 
Rev Dr Djiniyini Gondarra OAM

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Join me in supporting the First People of Australia as they take on the legitimacy of the Australian Government:

Learn more at:

Open letter to the PM from Sovereign Union spokesperson

In an 'open letter' to Australia's prime Minister Julie Gillard, Michael Anderson rquests an answer as to whether the 1967 referendum to amend section 127 of the Constitution was valid.
He calls upon the Commonwealth government to provide the written evidentiary proof that the States did in fact refer this matter of Aboriginal Affairs to the Commonwealth, as required under Section 105A of the Australian Constitution and asks, 'if so, were any conditions applied for the referral'.
Michael Anderson states that if due process was not followed properly the Commonwealth government has committed a major fraud against the Australian public.
Open letter to PM Julia Gillard                                        
18 March 2012

Dear Prime Minister,

I am writing to seek an answer as to whether the 1967 referendum to amend section 127 of the Constitution was valid.
I call upon the Commonwealth government to provide the written evidentiary proof that the States did in fact refer this matter of Aboriginal Affairs to the Commonwealth, as required under Section 105A of the Australian Constitution; and, if so, were any conditions applied for the referral.
If due process was not followed properly the Commonwealth government has committed a major fraud against the Australian public.
In the case of NSW, it took the Commonwealth and the States until 1975 to divide the responsibility of Aboriginal Affairs between the Commonwealth and the states. Similar arrangements with other States were made at this time.
This is an important consideration because, since the Pacific Islanders Protection Act 1875, it is incumbent on the colonial states to negotiate with Aboriginal Peoples over land acquisition as the colony expanded, but Aboriginal Peoples have been defrauded by the use of superior force to remove them from their lands and waters, resulting in our people becomes displaced Peoples and refuges in this continent.
The second matter the 1967 referendum dealt with was the deceitful and fraudulent method by which they obtained patrimony. There was a legal reason why Aboriginal people were not counted in the census; because they were independent Peoples as recognised in Pacific Islanders Protection Act 1875, in which Aboriginal Peoples were legally identified as having independent sovereignty.
Our understanding is that Section 127 of the Australian Constitution:
‘In reckoning the numbers of the people of the Commonwealth, or of a State or other part of the Commonwealth, aboriginal natives shall not be counted.’  
was inserted by the Home Office in London during the drafting of the British Act of parliament which created the Australian Constitution in 1901. Presumably the Home Office was well aware of the power and implications of the Pacific Islanders Protection Act 1875.
In effect the 1967 referendum was a unilateral attempt by the Commonwealth to fraudulently incorporate Aboriginal people as Australian citizens destined for assimilation, without our free prior and informed consent.
I draw your attention to the fact that the recent proposal for a referendum in 2013 to, at least, include Aboriginal people in the preamble of the Australian Constitution is yet another attempt by the Commonwealth to fraudulently acquire Aboriginal acquiescence to an illegal occupying colonial power.  The Aboriginal individuals advocating for inclusion of Aboriginal people in the preamble of the Constitution are committing treason against Aboriginal Peoples.
I look forward to receiving the information requested.


Michael Anderson

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Day He Was Stolen...

We packed up the Troupie and were off before Mother Sun reached her highest point, the day promised to be a scorcher.  After an hour we left the main road heading towards Alice Springs, though without Uncle Bob as a guide, we surely would have missed the slight break in the grass and the almost invisible red road snaking off through the scrub brush.  We came to a copse of unusual variation and we spotted wild emu and two kangaroo, though I doubt the different trees were out of the ordinary to these native inhabitants.  Our modern beast was entering a surface world largely untouched by time, but a landscape immersed in tragedy.

As the road became rougher and the washouts forced us through untrodden Bush we would alternately slow to a crawl through the spinifex or go almost gangbusters through the soft sand.  If you stop in the soft sand, you stay stopped.  After a most harrowing moment where the truck stalled on a jagged ravine inches from a 6 foot drop we arrived at our first stop, the shell of an outstation manned in the 30s by a Scottish man, Bill Liddle, the man unable to stop authorities from taking away his son, Bob Randall.

We stood on the ground where his Mothers and Aunties created a safe and loving home, connecting him to the land forever, which was his birthright as an Anangu boy.  When young Bob was somewhere between 6 and 8 years old, Constable Bill McKinnon came by on his camel to carry out the White Australia Assimilation Policy, which literally stated the mandate to "breed the black out of them".  "Them" being the First Australians, "Them" being Bob Randall and his family.  Half-caste babies were sometimes covered in ash or charcoal to try to make them darker so the law wouldn't take them, but the day the policeman came by on his camel rained.

Constable Bill McKinnon arrested a number of Bob's Aunties and Uncles, and put them in chains, for cattle killing.  Before the white man came there was plenty of food for the Anangu people, but then cattle were introduced.  Fences cut off Traditional food gathering routes, and the new beasts soiled all the water holes and drove the indigenous game out of reach of the local families.

The way I've been told is that Anangu way means we are all connected.  If a family is hungry and they find a bull, they takes only what they needs for his family and there is no such thing as "ownership".  Little Bob Randall's family was only taking care of their own, and they were punished for it.

I've put together a very amateur video of the journey from Angas Downs, where Uncle Bob was taken, to the water hole where he and the other prisoners spent the first night.  It was a sixteen mile journey, and only the very first step in the heartbreaking and inspiring story of Tjilpi Bob Randall.

Friday, April 13, 2012

A Letter to the Prime Minister

Brian just sent this letter to the Prime Minister of Australia and cc'd the White House:

Prime Minister,
My name is Brian Loftin. I am a US citizen. 
On a recent visit to beautiful Australia, and specifically to Uluru, Mutitjulu, and Alice Springs I saw things that made me question the place of your country in the pantheon of "Great Nations," namely, the way your government is treating the Aboriginal People. 
As an American, my complaints about the treatment of indigenous peoples are admittedly a bit like the crow calling the raven black, but we now live in the 21st century--not the 19th. Before my trip I acquainted myself with your policy of "Strong Futures" as well as much material relating to the past and current situations of the First People--including the virtual holocaust of the Stolen Generations. Seeing what is happening now in the wretchedly poor communities I listed above, seeing how the white people live comfortably nearby, seeing no equality in exchanges with the people, seeing the patronizing and condescending attitude of the government in its interventionist and racist ways (I'm from the Southern US; I know it when I see it), hearing things told to my own ears that I know to be patently false is simply abhorrent. These people are living as 3rd class citizens. If you doubt me, go live in a corrugated metal shack with 20 other people for a week, and then write to me about equality and "Stronger Futures." 
Unless your government changes its attitude towards the First People, it is going to get embarrassed; it is not a question of if but when. In this day and age of social media, it's not too far fetched to get powerful people and other countries involved--just like what happened with the film "Brown Skin Baby" and what it did to your Assimilation Policy of 1937 in the early 1970's. I will do everything in my power to shine a light on what your country is doing to the oldest living culture in the world, a culture yours should be proud to have within its borders! And make no mistake, Prime Minister, the current situation of the Aboriginal People is your government's fault. This point is not rationally contestable. 
If you want the First People of Australia to succeed, as your Aboriginal Affairs Minister claims, work WITH them! Work directly with the remaining Elders, who have been making their recommendations repeatedly known, and have spoken through films such as Our Generation and Kanyini, and DO what they recommend. 40,000 years of wisdom deserve to taken into account. Do not let their cultures become extinct! Give them what they're asking for to reinstate their cultures. My government failed in this, because it thought it could parent the American Indians without any effort to understand things from their perspective. Learn from history! Do not make the same mistake we did. Leave a legacy that shows you want Australia to be taken seriously. If you were to form a true and equal relationship with ALL of your people, you would have achieved what America never really did. 
And then Australia would truly be a Great Nation!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Where to start?

I have so much to say that I don't even know how to begin.  Should I start with the overwhelming amount of work to do that keeps getting interrupted by other things to do?  Or the devastating government legislation and their "stronger futures" that will only have the effect of decimating a culture?  The local land council's ignoring of protocol and lack of communication with the people they are supposed to represent?  And the huge amounts of money thrown to "Aboriginal affairs" which really goes to white "administrators" and their travel, housing, new car, stipend...because you've got to pay those people extra for working in such a remote and hostile environment?  Wow, it is really  hard to not be cynical.

O.K., then let me balance that with the brightness of the Milky Way last night and it's sharp, glittering band of starlight, or the wedge-tail eagle we saw on the way back from Alice Springs surrounded by a sunset of fuschia and orange...there are extremes here and a juxtaposition of miraculous on top of horrific.

Just like any journey, the microcosm of all I'm experiencing is happening inside of myself at the same time.  Inner demons and terrible judgement, right along side of perspective gained only by completely surrendering to that over which I have no power- which is everything.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Our Welcome to Country

After 36 hours of traveling (three planes and lots of layovers) we have arrived at Uluru.  The tiny Ayers Rock airport was the last vestige of air conditioning before stepping out into the 98 degree heat.  The stillness of the landscape is juxtaposed with a palpable vitality and living history, and our first stop from the airport was Anangu homelands of Uncle Bob Randall and his family. 

Driving along the red track Uncle Bob was telling us the hopes and dreams for his family's land.  "The marker starts here, and then goes for as far as your eye can see."

We then arrive at the spot where I learned how to cook a kangaroo tail three years ago, and now they've added to toilets and a little shelter for Grandmother Barbara to use when she comes out to teach.  Johnny, Uncle Bob's son, has been clearing  insidious non-native grass and the place looks amazing.  This is the spot where hopefully more groups will have the chance to experience the Anangu stories and ways of living on country.  It's not as easy out here and the politics are sometimes a confusing morass, but the family is building a place for Indigenous teaching that is truly inspiring, and Brian and I are so honoured to help!

On the way out to the homelands Barbara said, "there it is, stop!" 
and we all piled out into the crazy heat to see certain branches of 
the Mulga tree glistening with sticky droplets of sap.  The looked 
like diamonds in the sun and Uncle Bob said, "go ahead, 
break one off, this is how we used to do it."  

Outback candy store!
The Sap tastes a little like tapioca, but also rock candy.  It was a wonderful way to get reacquainted with the land out here!

This morning we woke up to birds as our alarm clock and the sun kissing the side of Uluru into a bright and deep orange/red and the deep silence of the land is incredibly grounding.  We will get to the work and the stories and the documenting soon enough, but for today, it is incredible just to Be.  

Monday, March 26, 2012

Thank you for the great event!!

Thank you everyone who came out to the Center for Sacred Studies in Guerneville, CA to see KANYINI- it was a great group.  Brian and I so appreciated all the interest, support, and fabulous questions.  It was wonderful to bring a little "Grandfather" energy into one of the homes of the "13 Grandmothers". 
We leave for Oz in less than a week now!  SFO to LAX to Sydney to Uluru ~ So, I'll start posting more regularly after jet lag (April 3 or 4).  
Our gratitude again to all the amazing people who have been so supportive of our quest.   Here are two incredible resources for more information on the history and current struggles of our Aboriginal brothers and sisters down under:  (go to the "resources" page and you can order a dvd directly from the site) (read the open letter to Prime Minister Gillard)
Aloha, and see you in April!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

KANYINI showing at the Center for Sacred Studies 3/22 6:30pm

Uncle Bob Randall was born around 1934 in the Central Desert region of the Northern Territory (NT), Australia. He is a “Tjilpi” (special Uncle) of the Yankunytjatjara Nation and is one of the traditional owners of Uluru (Ayers Rock). At about age 7, young Bob was taken away from his mother and family under government policy. He was one of thousands of Aboriginal children who came to be known as the Stolen Generation. Like so many, he never saw his mother again.
Come hear his story through the documentary film,
Center for Sacred Studies  13550 Church Street - Guerneville
March 22, 2012
Uncle Bob continues to write and teach throughout the world, presenting Aboriginal cultural-awareness programs based on the Anangu (Central Desert language) “Kanyini” principles of caring for the environment and each other with unconditional love and responsibility.  

Katie Kasben and Brian Loftin, who will be presenting the documentary, will be traveling to Uluru to work with Uncle Bob, record his stories and songs, and be of service to the Anangu community of Mutijulu.  Any donations from this event will go to help this project.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Fundraiser for Australia~

Saturday, March 10, at 7pm, please join Katie Kasben at the Community Church of Sebastopol for a glimpse into the heart of darkness of modern day Australia with the documentary film  OUR GENERATION, which looks at the world's oldest living culture and the devastating effects of the government's nefarious "Intervention".

This event is free and open to the public, with a suggested donation of $10

OUR GENERATION is a powerful and upfront documentary on the Australian Aboriginal struggle for their land, culture and freedom – a story that has been silenced by the Australian Government and mainstream media. Driven by the remote Yolngu of Northeast Arnhem Land, one of the last strongholds of traditional Aboriginal culture in Australia, as well as the voices of national indigenous leaders, historians and human rights activists, the film explores the ongoing clash of cultures that is threatening to wipe out the oldest continuing culture in the world. With music by John Butler Trio, Yothu Yindi, Xavier Rudd, Gurrumul, Archie Roach, Goanna, Saltwater Band and more.

Watch the trailer:

Where:  The Community Church of Sebastopol- 1000 Gravenstein Hwy North
When:  Saturday, March 10, 7pm

Nhama!  - Yolgnu for “Thank you!”

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

RESURRECTION ~ The blog is back

How is it possible that two years have passed?  The last thing I was doing here was showing the Australian film KANYINI around the Northeast, and now, here I am going back to Australia to stay with the subject of the film, Uncle Bob Randall!  How to explain the last two years..there is no time, let me sum up:  Met a man at the SFO airport bus stop, ran the VIP room at HATCH fest Asheville, Man from bus stop came to visit me in North Carolina, I packed up my car a month later and drove to California- where I was a waitress...again, I volunteered at the "Healing Our Spirits Worldwide" conference in Honolulu- where the man asked me to marry him...I said, "Yes", we moved to Sebastopol, CA- where I got a job doing events for a bookstore, met Robert Moss- who wrote "Active Dreaming", which changed our lives, flew back to Asheville to get hitched, flew to Maui to get honeymooned, then life slammed us with all sorts of crazy, then Uncle Bob Randall came to L.A. and we drove down to see him, now am leaving the bookstore in capable hands and Brian and I are going to Uluru, the Red Centre of Australia to stay in Mutijulu Community for three months.  What the world holds after that, I have no idea!