Thursday, January 11, 2007

Help Devils Marbles Australia! VOTE here!

In the spirit of preserving memories--of all peoples, vote! Here is a great --and fun--way to help the indiginious peoples in northern australia preserve their histories! Read on for the letter I just got on this topic from a Scrappers Challenge member in Australia!! Let's go girls! VOTE below!


Dear Rockester
I am emailing this request to you, but will understand, no drama, if you reject it! I figure if you don't ask, you never receive!! :)
I don't know if you remember me, but I posted some time ago on the group regarding taking photos of everyday family moments when you get the chance, as I luckily did in the last week before my Mum (who lives 3000 km away) passed away unexpectedly, on the very night we had flown home from visiting her. I was thrilled that you took the time to reply, given the large amount of traffic on the group! (Please don't take that as any sort of emotional blackmail to answer yes to my request by the way, just reminding you of who I am!!!) :)

Anyway, I live in the Northern Territory (NT) of Australia, in the desert Outback, in a remote small town called Tennant Creek. We are situated right in the heart of the NT, in an area known as the Barkly Region. Our nearest town is Alice Springs, 500km south of us! Now to explain my request.

In the spirit of healthy competition, I make the following request: VOTE FOR THE NORTHERN TERRITORY:"Devils Marbles"
If you visit the site you will see that this is the famous Monopoly boardgame, but the company is developing an Aussie version.
The monopoly site offers the chance to promote your favourite location by having it placed on the new Aussie Monopoly board. I am emailing everyone that I know to ask them to vote for my local attraction here in the Northern Territory, a sacred Aboriginal site known as Devils Marbles. If you could ask the Scrappers Challenge group asking that as many people as possible click daily on the vote link for Devils Marbles in the NT to increase the chance of our attraction making it onto the Monopoly board.

The Northern Territory is a large place, but with a relatively small population. My town has only 3000 people, 50% of which are Aboriginal and many don't have computers. Our chances of rounding up enough local votes (although I have emailed every address in the region that I could find!!) to compete with say Darwin, as the capital city of the NT, is minimal! The online competition does not require your personal details, it just recognises from the computer address that you have voted. Voting continues daily until the 10th of February.
The healthy competition part is that Uluru (Ayers Rock) is the famous Indigenous location of the NT, but our sacred site is just as important to the local Warumungu people. It would be fantastic if the 'little guys' had a win for once!! It would mean a great deal to my small town to win a place on this Monopoly Board, and bring some much-needed fame and attention to a lesser-known location!

This, in turn, would grow interest in the smaller loactions of the Outback, and increase the number of visitors to this region, which would in turn grow the local economy. I know that it is only a boardgame, but to be featured on the official Aussie Monopoly board would provide promotion of our local region on a scale that money cannot buy!!
I am well-versed in this very subject, as I am the General Manager of Tourism for this region. We work hard to promote our attractions, but ultimately we find it very difficult to compete with the big guns of tourism in the Northern Territory, the likes of Uluru, Kakadu and Katherine Gorge, all of which also appear on this competition. Our local Warumungu people have been working hard recently with anthropologists to record the Dreaming stories of Devils Marbles, to preserve the traditional stories and customs associated with this sacred place.

My region has many full-blood Aboriginal people still living here, with strong traditional ties to their homelands. Given that they are the oldest living culture on earth, it is vitally important to preserve these sacred sites and traditions. The recent studies of their customs and traditions has also served to record which areas of the Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve is available for public access, and which areas are culturally fragile and need preserving for the future. Increasing visitation to this site would offer economic enterprises to the traditional owners, the Aboriginal people, and their future generations, provided that the site is protected from over-use in the most sensitive areas. The work they have done recently has recorded and preserved important knowledge before the current elders pass away and take the knowledge with them.

They are taking the appropriate steps to ensure such preservations exists. Now it is important to them that development of appropriate tourism enterprises within this site offers an economically sustainable future for their grandchildren. I am not Aboriginal myself, but am native born of Australia, of Irish descent. I understand a fraction of the intense connection they feel to their land, from my visits to the counties of my ancestors in Ireland and grasping just how 'connected' I felt there. Just imagine how incredible it must be to have a knowledge of and a belonging to a place that goes back more than 40,000 years!

Thank you Rock for your consideration of this request, and for reading my long email. I truly know that it is out-of-the-box ... but I felt it was important enough to ask. I look forward to your reply. Sorry to have gotten so long-winded about it, but I am naturally a verbose person (which shows in the journalling in my albums!!) and feel very strongly about the future of these very traditional people!

Take care,
Kate Foran
(General Manager, Barkly Tourism)

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