With wildfires ravaging the continent of Australia, indigenous communities said the media continues to ignore the impacts on their land, according to the Wirrpanda Foundation.
“In Australia what you would think of as your typical Australian and the wildlife are already getting plenty of donations. The first nation communities just get left behind, as usual, it’s saddening to see,” Gatlin Hale, the organizer of the event said.
News outlets such as CNN and MSNBC have covered the overall events of the fires. It’s hard to find information on how the fires have affected native communities. That is why this former UNCA student is setting out to inform people of the plight of first nation communities.
First nation communities refer to the indigenous people of a country, Hale said. For example, in the U.S. the various Native American tribes.
When disasters like the fires in Australia happen, these communities often suffer the most. A lot of the time they are moved out of the public eye and don’t receive the benefits of relief efforts, according to The Wirrpanda Foundation.
The Wirrpanda Foundation’s mission is to lead the provision of education and employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. The foundation has been around since 2005 and has done some amazing work in the lives of native people in Australia.
The foundation asserts that multiple important landmarks of first nation communities have been destroyed in the fires. These landmarks hold substantial spiritual and cultural significance in First Nation communities
While bringing attention to this community, in particular, other native communities around the globe face similar obstacles. “First Nation communities like that in Australia, are all around the world,” Hale said.
The U.S. has first nation communities as well. Benjamin Higgdon, a colleague, said first nation communities are often forced to represent themselves.“As far as representation, they all do it themselves. They have people that work directly with the government to receive resources. That’s why things like the Dakota pipeline happened,” said Higgdon. He said people tend to ignore first nation communities so that they don’t have to face their own role in their disenfranchisement. Higgdon believes that there is no room for complicity when it comes to issues such as this.
It is exponentially important to raise awareness about the struggles of first nation communities, that’s why Hale has partnered with the foundation. Hale emphasized that these communities require just as much attention surrounding the fires as everyone else. He feels that the same goes for all First Nation communities.
“There are thousands upon thousands of first nation communities around the world such as in Canada, South America, Central America, Australia, New Guinea, and Indonesia”
Hale, a former UNCA student, is organizing an event to benefit first nation communities affected by the bushfires in Australia. The event will be held on Feb. 18 at Static Age Records.
“This money is going to go toward an organization that’s been working long term with first nations communities for years, where they try and help people through education to get employment and in general help people get back up on their feet,” Hale said.
The art show starts at 7 p.m. At 9:30 p.m., performances from local bands will start. The line-up includes Moves, Daddy’s Credit card, 13ag H3ad, and Mouth Breathers. All of these bands are local and coming out to support the cause.
Owner of Static Age Records, Jessie McSwane opened his store 12 years ago, events like these happen often at his store. “It seems like every few months we have some type of benefit event going on,” McSwane said. He is excited about this upcoming event and hopes that students and locals come and participate.
Static Age Records is a great hang out spot as well as a music lover’s destination. Static age is first and foremost a record store. In recent years, the store has expanded to musical events and art events. Static Age has about 20 to 25 shows a month, the charitable work associated with the benefit was something McSwane was interested in. He hopes this event helps bring attention to the foundation its self as well as the cause.“It seemed like an organization we could get behind,” McSwane said.
While the owner of Static Age often hosts events such as this, to him it’s only the beginning. McSwane said he has big plans for the future of the Static Age. McSwane wants to incorporate food into his business which currently only serves drinks. He wants to include food as to have a greater scope of community.