A BALLARAT Aboriginal elder is disgusted by a racially-taunting letter sent to him last week mocking indigenous beliefs and criticising a push for racial equality.
Ted Lovett, a highly regarded elder in the Ballarat community, received the anonymous letter which took aim at Aboriginal tradition and Mr Lovett’s lobbying for racial equality in the city.
The letter, which was addressed to Mr Lovett via the Ballarat and District Aboriginal Co-operative, stated white people were not interested in Aboriginal culture. And if the racial taunts were not damaging enough, it arrived during National Reconciliation Week.
Mr Lovett, who has long been an advocate for indigenous rights, said he was shocked someone could pen such a racist letter.
The letter refers to
At the time he said racism was still prominent in Ballarat and the issue was still very much alive.
Mr Lovett also praised the inception of the inaugural BFL indigenous round, which recognised the contribution Aboriginals gave to football.
“We arre (sic) sick and tired of your continual whinging and whining about your conditions and how you are treated,” the letter reads.
“You should be thanking the white people for saving so many of them (Aboriginals) of a certain death as they could not be cared for properly and would be left to die in the bush at times but for the care of white missionarys (sic).”
The letter goes on to mock traditional Aboriginal beliefs, such as the Dreamtime Rainbow Serpent and refers to indigenous people as “species”.
It also claims Aboriginals were not the first inhabitants of Australia and came to the country on boats.
“The whitte (sic) person is not that interested in your culture of which your people think we should learn,” it says.
“I don’t know anybody that wants to eat witchetty grubs or such.”
Mr Lovett said the letter showed racism was still very much alive in Ballarat.
He said only the minority of people held such racist beliefs, but that they made their voice particularly strong, especially behind the veil of anonymity.
“It’s the gutless people, they are the ones that make the hurt with these sort of things,” he said.
“It’s tragic the mentality these people have. Racism hasn’t gone away, you’ve still got it there on the fringes.
“It just rolls on and on.”
Mr Lovett said he had no idea where the letter had come from, but said it was not uncommon to be on the end of such abuse.
He said he would not try to investigate who had sent the letter.
“It doesn’t hurt me — it’s been happening all my life,” he said.
“But there are definitely people out there who would be really hurt by it.”
Earlier this year, two Melton South Football Club supporters were banned from attending six BFL matches for racially abusing Mr Lovett and fellow Aboriginal leader Geoff Clark at a football match last year.