Focus on indigenous life

Racism, discrimination and disadvantage are constant facets of life faced by indigenous people in Gippsland.

A short documentary to coincide with the Victorian Seniors Festival Week aims to shine a spotlight on these issues and the lives of seniors and Aboriginal elders within the local community.

The hope for the film is to create a learning resource to examine how things were, where they are now and how they could be in the future.

Instigated by Aboriginal regional development officer Karina Crutch and filmed by Robbie C Bundle from the Melbourne Community indigenous Film Collective, the documentary followed people ranging from Lake Tyers, Bairnsdale, Sale, Traralgon, Morwell and Wonthaggi for their perspectives.

Ms Crutch said themes included the way indigenous people were perceived, levels of respect, racism past and present, treatment within the justice system, health issues and services and how indigenous people felt about using mainstream services compared to Aboriginal controlled agencies.

“There’s still barriers and challenges for the community across Gippsland, some areas are working better than others,” Ms Crutch said.

“A lot of people in the past were not originally from Gippsland so how were they perceived in the area?

“Then there were questions around health, justice and the services and programs provided (for indigenous people) in the area.

“Looking at some of the questions, agencies can use that to learn.”

One of the documentary subjects was Dennis Seymour, who spoke about racism in the community.

Mr Seymour is involved with a range of elders in the arts community and said he saw discrimination in other pockets of his life.

“He (Mr Bundle) wanted to find out about racism in the community, also how we felt about the elders,” he said.

“I belong to a bowling club… and there’s a lot of racism. On the whole people are good, it’s only one or two, but once you scratch them it’s alright.

“(The documentary) will raise a bit of awareness.”

The film will launch tomorrow and will be stored as part of the oral history collection at Koorie Heritage Trust.