Noongar man Clinton Pryor has passed through the Narooma area on his walk across Australia from Perth to Canberra raising awareness of Aboriginal rights and the need for a treaty.
“Clinton’s Walk for Justice” started at Heirisson Island, Perth in September last year and so far he has walked 4737 kilometres meeting Aboriginal communities along the way.
Meeting with Aboriginal people on their homelands and remote settlements had been an eye-opener and made him more determined for a treaty to be put in place. Having grown up in the Kimberley region of WA before moving to Perth, he was well aware of the disadvantage many of his people faced.
Mr Pryor said his main message was that Australia needed a treaty with its Aboriginal population giving elders more control over their people, which would help address inequality and issues that the Indigenous people faced every day.
Many in the Aboriginal community had lost faith in the “Recognise” movement and just wanted a formal treaty in place, giving them the rights they needed to improve their lives and future of the race.
“It should have been done in 1788, 229 years ago and we are still waiting for it to happen,” he said. “The most thing I worry is see a lot of my people living homeless, watching the land being destroyed and my culture dying out.”
On Thursday, July 27, Mr Pryor arrived in Tilba Tilba where he was greeted by members of the Indigenous and non-Indigenous community for his walk up to Central Tilba, where he stopped in and met with elders at their Bellbrook property. There was a Welcome to Country ceremony and traditional dancing by the local women’s dance group.
Mr Pryor then stopped in at Central Tilba Public School to meet with the students before having a lunch at Merryn Apma’s Aboriginal art gallery where local dancers put on a show for him.
Organising the Tilba welcome was local gallery owner Merry Apma, who is friends with Indigenous AFL legend Michael Long and who participated in his “Long Walk” in 2004.
Ms Apma said Clinton’s walk was just as important and while she was disappointed that a treaty was not in place yet, it was nice to see all part of the community, black and white, supporting his call for justice.
Also involved was local elder Wally Stewart, who is lobbying for Indigenous fishing rights and the South Coast Native Title claim, as well as Yuin artist Cheryl Davison and Merrimans Local Aboriginal Land Council chairman Ken Campbell.
On Friday, he was due to stop in at Narooma High School to meet with students before continuing his journey up the Far South Coast to Sydney.
His long walk will ultimately end at Parliament and the Governor General’s residence at Canberra where he plans to present his message to the Governor General and Prime Minister calling for a treaty.
“I want to tell the Prime Minister to give elders the full control over the community and they live without the interference of the government,” Mr Pryor said.
“I want the Government to give my people what they want and that is give us a treaty and let us live our life how we always have done. This walk is about bring people from different culture back together and showing that if there any hope for this country we must work together.”