Foundation for Aboriginal
and Islander Research Action

Native Australian of the Gabi Gabi Community.
President of the "Foundation for Aboriginal and Islander Research Action".
Representative at the United Nations of Australia's Aboriginal Communities.

by Rosalba Nattero

On the occasion of the Working Group
on Indigenous Peoples, held from the 18th - 22nd of July, 2005,
at the United Nations of Geneva.

RN: What is the purpose of your presence here at the WGIP?

LM: The W.G. is very very important. This is because I believe that we cannot negotiate beyond a certain level with governments. Governments do not want to discuss topics of self-determination with Indigenous Peoples and they are not ready to return to the Natives the right to their lands and to their resources.
So, it's important to turn to an international audience where we can face these topics. International dialogue is important because it is objective and because it can give voice to the various opinions of different nations.
And there is another reason: it is the chance to denounce the many specific cases of human rights violations; but the main purpose is always to have a dialogue with governments on the rights of Indigenous Peoples.

RN: Do you believe a common spiritual bond exists between Native Peoples?

LM: Yes, I believe there is a common bond between Indigenous Peoples and it is a bond that permits us to identify ourselves as such.
It is an attachment to the land, but to a spiritual land; according to our definition, we are those who must look after this land; we must care for our brothers and sisters, for plants, for animals. This is the common vision of all Native Peoples of the world.
Our history and our origins are not made up of conquests of other peoples and of other lands; we are born from the land and so, we are the keepers of the land.
I believe that Indigenous Peoples have this in common. Even though we never had experiences with other native people before the modern era, for us it's very easy to enter into contact with other indigenous cultures and immediately understand what their values are, and their global views.

RN: Can you say something to us in your language ?

LM: I come from the Gabi Gabi People; we live in Queensland near the Australian coast. So we call ourselves "the people of the brackish water". We have a greeting in my language, which also means "come and visit our land: it is "Wagna". So, "Wagna" to everyone.