ImagineNATIVE 2019: Our Review of ‘Wik vs Queensland’

Posted in ImagiNATIVE 2019 by - October 24, 2019
ImagineNATIVE 2019: Our Review of ‘Wik vs Queensland’

Wik Peoples v Queensland is a precedent making case. The Wik applicants made the settler government in northeastern Australia recognize their ownership of their land. Dean Gibson’s documentary Wik vs Queensland shows the galvanization of that process in 1993, when Aboriginal leaders stepped up. And seeing them in the archive footage really takes audiences back to their uphill, momentous battles.

Land rights are a straightforward concept for BIPOC but it’s a tricky idea for settlers. Wik vs Queensland shows Aboriginal leaders like Noel Pearson, fighting this legality in the urban bureaucracy of provincial parliaments. They offered olive branches to the Commonwealth government. They showed the legal rights that the Wik people have on the land that they’ve inhabited for millennia.

The talking heads showing both Aboriginal leaders and their settler allies are illuminating. There’s another dimension where this legal battle took place. The Wik still reside in the lands that they’re claiming, proving that truth that to the media. Some of their clan leaders have to leave such lands. They went to either Brisbane or Canberra to speak their minds.

Wik vs Queensland aims for detail instead of inflammatory emotion. It represented the other side through their smear campaigns years after the parliament and the courts made their decisions. There is still that part of me that wishes that Gibson got the naysayers on camera. To make them accountable for stoking racism and increasing the backlash against the Wik decision.

But Wik vs Queensland is still a good reminder of John Howard’s petulance. He whines when the Parliament didn’t sway to his will. Howard is symptomatic of settler voters’ volatility. But importantly, Gibson, in this documentary, makes us remember Aboriginal leaders. Some of them are alive today and hope to maintain their rights as the first people in Australia.

For more information on Wik vs Queensland go to https://www.imaginenative.com/wik-vs-queensland.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watches movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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