This painting shows Nyoongar men and youth gathered together on a veranda discussing cultural and community matters. This meeting would have occurred during the Native Title case depicting an elder sitting in the background listening and passing wisdom.
It talks about the different considerations impacting upon cultural survival such as the education of our youth, respect for elders, the creation of positive roles for our men, the inﬂuence of Western religion and strong community governance. When the Western Australian Government appealed against the landmark High Court Native Title decision on the grounds that Nyoongar people had no continual practiced culture and were a fragmented community prior to colonialism, it was a direct attack upon Nyoongar people’s cultural survival and demonstrated the legal and social barriers Aboriginal people must still overcome in Australia today. For when Aboriginal people can claim land in capital cities such as Perth, then the way we are viewed socially, historically and economically must also change. It seems that the only way we can challenge power structures and to enforce social justice for our people is through the Western legal system in this country.
Julie Dowling, 2007