Author: Brian McCoy

  • AUSTRALIA

    Countering Graham Richardson's Balgo claims

    • Brian McCoy
    • 28 August 2017
    20 Comments

    Richardson said that during a visit to Balgo, 'The real shock was that the women could not leave the children at home with the men because sexual assault was so common.' Community members find it very difficult to discuss publicly issues of shame involving others with whom they closely live. It takes time to build up trust.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Our unfinished business with the First Nations

    • Brian McCoy
    • 26 January 2016
    4 Comments

    Every time I cross Sydney Harbour by train heading to the North Shore I look for the Aboriginal flag that flies from the top of the Jesuits' St Aloysius' College at Milsons Point. It was first raised on 25 January 1988, on the eve of the Australian Bicentenary, to mark the final day, 200 years previously, that Aboriginal people had complete freedom to their lands and customs before the arrival of the First Fleet.

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  • Will Andrew Chan payback hurt more than heal?

    • Brian McCoy
    • 25 February 2015
    2 Comments

    I have witnessed Aboriginal payback. It was in the Kimberley on an open sports oval. A young girl from the community had been found killed and I watched the community's desire to re-balance itself with the serious and public punishment of the offender. The whole community was present as the family of the deceased took it in turns to beat his back and stab his thigh. It was one of the most highly charged emotional events I have ever experienced. At the end, after all the punishment, he fell. The nurses took him into the health clinic and he was later evacuated to hospital. After the ritual was over I remember speaking to the father of the young girl. 'I want to kill him', he said. 'But even that will not remove your pain', I replied. His hurt was raw and tangible and nothing seemed able, at that time, to even get close to healing it. Read more

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Aboriginal Australians inherit racial fear

    • Brian McCoy
    • 29 May 2012
    12 Comments

    The shooting death of 17-year-old African-American Trayvon Martin brought to public attention The Talk, an oral tradition where people who have experienced racial discrimination and violence teach their young to be cautious when they are out in public. Aboriginal Australians have their own version of The Talk.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Australia's story in Indigenous languages

    • Brian McCoy
    • 13 February 2012
    17 Comments

    I will never forget the look on her face. I had asked her a simple question. But I had used her language. She seemed shocked that a white person would even try. Indigenous languages offer rich ways to describe and name our world, and valuable insights and knowledge for all Australians.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Colour, culture and freedom of identity

    • Brian McCoy
    • 06 October 2011
    17 Comments

    I am deeply proud of my Aboriginal friend, who is now a doctor. I have not had the heart to tell her that once she was judged for not being dark enough to be awarded an Indigenous scholarship. While Andrew Bolt argues about freedom of speech, I argue about freedom of identity.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Indigenous Australians taking the next step

    • Brian McCoy
    • 06 July 2011
    4 Comments

    I have just returned from visiting friends in remote Aboriginal communities. It was a sad trip. A large number of young people have died in recent years, some close friends. They represent the trifecta of young peoples' deaths: car accidents, suicides and chronic disease.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Aboriginal students' school shock

    • Brian McCoy
    • 04 April 2011
    28 Comments

    I recently spent time with a group of students from a remote community who had been at school down south. After a fight involving other Aboriginal students, they wanted to go home. Senator Jenny Macklin has suggested punishing Aboriginal parents who do not support their children attending school.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Prince encounters 'unfinished business' of Indigenous history

    • Brian McCoy
    • 25 January 2010
    1 Comment

    Australia Day remindes us of stories of separation within our country, such as the stories of the Stolen Generations. Separation from a parent is something Prince William understands. 'Did your mummy die?' a six-year old asked him during his visit last week.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Back to the future for Indigenous youth

    • Brian McCoy
    • 06 July 2009
    4 Comments

    Young people ideally move into adulthood with pride and a sense of generational history. Identity is not just about becoming an individual, but knowing, valuing and embodying one's ancestral past. But moving forwards while looking backwards can be risky.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Obama and Baz Luhrmann's Australia

    • Brian McCoy
    • 23 January 2009
    4 Comments

    Australia Day comes this year shortly after Obama's entry into the White House. Like the child in Australia — a film that captures something of the mixed history of our Australian footprint — Obama embodies the possibility of healing across racial and other divides.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Standing up for students' rites

    • Brian McCoy
    • 12 November 2008
    7 Comments

    Media exposure of some students' controversial end-of-school celebrations revealed a cultural deficit. Aboriginal men experience rituals that support their transition from boyhood into adulthood. Rituals in Western society are less clear.

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