On the day when the lotus bloomed alas, my mind was straying, and I knew it not. My basket was empty and the flower remained unheeded.

Only now and again a sadness fell upon me, and I started up from my dream and felt a sweet trace of a strange fragrance in the south wind.

That vague sweetness made my heart ache with longing and it seemed to me that it was the eager breath of the summer seeking for its completion.

I knew not then that it was so near, that it was mine, and this perfect sweetness had blossomed in the depth of my own heart.

(Rabrindranath Tagore, Gitimalya 17/ Visva-Bharati, Gitabitan 137 (Puja))

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Notes on the NT Intervention Part 1

boys-climbingFirst an explanation.

Just over a year ago, the former Australian government (the conservative Howard government) launched an ‘intervention’ into Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory in apparent response to the damning report, Little Children are Sacred. Although the Intervention has so far failed to address the 90-something recommendations in this report, in other aspects it has had some successes and some abysmal failures. For those who aren’t familiar with the NT Intervention, in its early days it was hailed by some as a saviour for Aboriginal people, and by others as a return to the assimilationist and racist policies of the past.

A year on, and we’ve got a new government (a so-called ‘progressive’ government) who’ve not really done anything startling except try (and to this date, fail) to reinstate the permit system. Prompted by a report about white trash on Aboriginal communities in today’s Australian newspaper, I’ve decided to post some of my own firsthand observations of the NT Intervention. Please note that I am someone who lives and works in Aboriginal Central Australia every day. I’m going to tell good and bad, just as I’ve seen it. It might not be what some people want to hear.

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A Day in the Life

sign1Applied anthropology is anthropology at the coal face, with all that’s good and bad. For those of you who might have no idea what a typical day in the field is like for an applied anthropologist, or who even might be considering a career in applied anthropology, the following post is a snapshot of life in a typical day’s fieldwork.

The Mission:

Complete two sacred site clearances, requiring consultations with people who live west of Alice Springs.

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flatNo, this isn’t a post about the latest tyre puncture* I got whilst doing fieldwork last week.

This is a post about how I’ve been feeling for the past few weeks: flat.

I am shortly going on a yoga intensive -which I have been looking forward to all year – and I’m not excited in the slightest. I am not interested in work, I am not interested in going to the gym (although I have dramatically increased the amount of running I’m doing). I’m not really interested in watching TV or reading books. I’m not much interested in anything at all. Apart from wasting time on the internet. Which I suspect has become an addiction.

Most of all I am worried about my lack of interest in going to the gym.

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