Excessive alcohol consumption
Kennedy Hill is an Aboriginal community in the remote town of Broome in the Kimberley, in the North West of Australia. The community exists in the shadows of Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett’s commitment to close down approximately 100-150 Aboriginal communities in Western Australia. There are more than 270 remote Indigenous communities in Western Australia, home to 12,000 people.
Aboriginal Elders and Leaders are shocked and feel closing down communities is a big threat to their people. They believe the impact of such a move will be devastating. Communities are based ‘on Country’. Closing down communities means losing connection to the land in which ancient stories are etched. These stories inform about morals, values and relationships, and are reinforced in Language through song and story at times of ceremony or travel through that Country –there used to be 250 Aboriginal languages before White Invasion. By closing down communities, ancient knowledge that has been passed down through generations will get lost and people will be lost because of this disconnection that nurtures them physically, emotionally and spiritually. Consequently, poverty, disadvantage, alcoholism, unemployment, etc. –which are contained within communities because of ongoing cultural connection– will be relocated and intensified and brought to the bigger towns. History is repeating itself!
Kennedy Hill, or as the locals refer to it, ‘The Hill’ is significant to Indigenous people in the region.The presence of a large shell midden immediately adjacent to the community is testament to this significance; It’s been a living area and a sacred place since before White Invasion... since time in memorial.
Aboriginal people all over the Kimberley are now in fear of losing not only their homes but losing the significant connection to their land and sacred sites. The question now remains, which Aboriginal communities will be closed?