Our life in Yuendumu.

Claire and Magali with a neighbourClaire, Magali and friends

Since we arrived in Australia in 1954 we have been following the development of Aboriginal groups in the central desert. Their situation has been influenced above all through Federal decisions on their lives. Such issues include forced settlement under ‘white authority’, the referendum giving them Australian citizenship, the struggle to gain possession of their land and their sacred sites. More recently the Aboriginal people have started to take more responsibility in applying Commonwealth laws to their situation. They hope for more understanding and recognition of their rich history in our continent.

In 1989 we moved permanently to Yuendumu, an ex-settlement of 1000 people, mostly from the Warlpiri ethnic group, 300kilometres north-west of Alice Springs. For a time Yuendumu had the status of a town and Little sister Claire-Marcelle received Australian citizenship from a Warlpiri mayor here.

At the Mining shopAt the Mining shop

This year we are living through a difficult time for Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory because of the intervention of the Federal Government in their communities. Giving as their motive to ‘protect little children from abuse’, they have passed many new laws which seem to take us back fifty years when people had no choice but to obey orders and which seemingly over-rule the Racial Discrimination Act.

Our friends and neighbours are confused and upset, worrying about the future, witnessing how their tribal laws are once again questioned! All these issues have come to a head as the time for the elections draws near and the government faces a serious challenge from the opposition.

Doing crafts togetherDoing crafts together

As Claire and I are both pensioners now, we do not have natural daily contacts at work and it is a challenge for us to make new friends. We are often asked to pray over the sick and many people bring us their worries of every kind. They have such a strong and trusting faith in Jesus power over their life that it engages and uplifts our own faith.

A priest from Alice Springs comes from time to time to celebrate the sacraments for the small Catholic community living here. Sometimes there are children’s baptisms.

The adults have very little Catholic background and their tradition is more Baptist with strong Pentecostal influences.As we are able to keep the Blessed Sacrament we have a daily Communion Service and on Sundays many people come.