Some of our older members grew up on country.
They and their parents worked for Kidman & Co Ltd, the pastoral lease holder. They remember when they worked with sheep before the cattle. Our people built the brush yards, stone-wind breaks and cut fence posts from local trees. Boundary riders would take a year to complete their tour of duty, returning to camp at "Christmas Waterhole". Today, the pastoral company has about ten employees and contractors to manage stock on over 11,000 square kilometres. There were over 400 of us on country when the Macumba pastoral run was established.
Ardugula is encouraging membership from those descended from Lower Southern Aranda/Wangkangurru people who lived on the Macumba watershed. We think there are now more than 400 of us again, spread across Australia and beyond. We also encourage anyone interesting in keeping our culture alive, to sign up as supporters, receive our updates and join our future programs. We realize that our story since colonization is not unique, and that others may want to join with us in campaigning for a different future in the Lake Eyre Basin.
Exile and Removal
In 1960 The United Nations moved to end decolonization, declaring " an end must be put to colonialism and all practices of segregation and discrimination associated therewith". In the Macumba Region, this appeared to go unnoticed, in fact the opposite began to occur. Our people who had previously been living alongside cattle and sheep stations, were encouraged more and more to live in town when not working on stations. The government threatened and often did remove children, arguing their welfare schooling was at risk "on stations". A second wave of stolen generation was now being created precisely at a time when South Australia should have been held to account for its lack of decolonization. From this time, traditional ceremonies had to be stopped and children had to go to school off of country.
The impact of people moving to town is clear in the Royal Commission Into Aboriginal Deaths In Custody
Report Of The Inquiry Into The Death Of A Man Who Died At Oodnadatta On 17 December 1983. The report traces the life of a traditional lawman, and prominent stockman, who was close to the Macumba management of S. Kidman and Co. Later in life he spent more and more time in town, trying to balance important traditional knowledge with the new demands of a state trying to assimilate, and ignore its responsibilities for handing country back. Racism, disrespect for country and traditional law, violence and alcohol formed a lethal cocktail in the town of Oodnadatta. Sidney Stewart's death in custody came at a time when he had been working hard to see recognition of traditional lands and to make sure country could be handed on to future generations. Despite the later Mabo2 and Wik decisions of the High Court of Australia, and several obscure Native Title consent determinations, the Macumba Region is still waiting for decolonization, even today. Across Australia generally, people whose human, common law and spiritual rights have been ignored through colonization, continue to make up too higher percentage of those held in care, custody, juvenile detention and prisons.