'Rabbit proof fence' author films ad for Survival

Doris Pilkington denounces Bushmen persecution

One of Australia's best-known authors, Doris Pilkington Garimara, has filmed an ad for Survival International, the worldwide organisation supporting tribal peoples. Ms Pilkington is the author of Follow the Rabbit Proof Fence, a true story of how her mother and aunt were taken from their families by the government and raised in mission stations and white households. The book, and the recent film Rabbit Proof Fence, brought home to white Australians the devastating effects such policies of forced integration had on those at the receiving end.

In the ad, Ms Pilkington describes how Survival helped her father's people, the Martudjara of the Western Desert, return home to their traditional land in the 1980s, and establish two new communities that are today growing and thriving.

Ms Pilkington also uses the ad to denounce the fact that other countries' indigenous people are now going through the same experience as her family:

'It may seem incredible to you, but the forced assimilation of indigenous peoples like that once suffered by the Aborigines is not over, and some governments still openly support and practice such policies.

'Right now in Botswana the Bushmen people who have lived on their lands for thousands of years are being forcibly expelled and relocated far from their homes just like my mother was. In bleak resettlement camps 20,000 years of knowledge and wisdom is ending in squalor.

'Survival is campaigning for the Bushmen so they can return to their traditional lands and choose their own way of life.

'By supporting Survival… you can help to ensure that in the future, stories like my mother's and those of the Martu and Bushmen are not acted out again and again, but become tales of the distant past.'

To see the advert, explore Sights & Sounds on the right.

For more information, stills taken from the film Rabbit Proof Fence and stills of the ad, contact Miriam Ross on (+44) (0)20 7687 8734 or email [email protected]

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