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    I am reading through 'both ways' literature of Yolngu and non-Yolngu working their knowledge systems together. Alongside I am reading Lorraine Code's 2006 book Ecological Thinking. I am also browsing through blogs and discussions on knowledge work and community development.
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    Here I post some of my work and thinking. It is a much harder task than I thought! It is an extension of my research on knowledge and difference connecting my experiences, reflections, formal written pieces, and hopefully friends and colleagues. As work and self cannot be separate this blog is both personal and intellectual. Comments are moderated because, while it is a site for collective work, it is not anonymous.
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  • October 2008
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It is the season for basketball here. Lara and I were walking around one Sunday evening looking for some physical activity to join in. Usually we have something planned either at 8am or 6pm when it is just cool enough, but last week a pilot and plane crashed in the ocean close to Gapuwiyak. Our good friends and reliable team mates are a pilot, Daniel, and his family Silke and Zoe. They had gone to town as their organisation came to terms with the crash and the missing pilot who has not been found since. Charter planes are a really important and familiar way to get around here, especially when in rains and the roads close. People know most off the pilots in the Mission Aviation Fellowship, so something like this effects everyone.

So, we were walking around, dropping off some damper to my mukul (the old lady we went to the bank with) and finally sat at the basketball court. This is where the young men hang out and play game after game, arranging and rearranging the teams. I figured that with such regular permutations and combinations I must at some point be asked to join. But alas, not this time. Wilson was there. He was wearing a bandage. You are never quite sure if it is a bandage covering a wound or it has been salvaged as a sweat band. While official policy is that the rascal school non-attenders, truants!, such as Wilson, are not chosen for extra curricular activities, this particular Wilson is so good that he was demanded in the School Team for the region’s sport meet. And he didn’t let anyone down. He won and made us proud, only to be not seen again until his skills are needed again next year.

Tom and Ben were also there. After their performances in the regional games, including Ben being joined by his ecstatic mother for the last hundred meters of the cross country, they went onto win again and again in the NT games and are now competing in the Pacific School Games in Canberra in November. The Australian Institute of Sport wants Ben to join a residential scheme in Darwin. If they all raise $3000 each to go to Canberra and Ben decides to not live with family for a few years, dreams may come true. I’m just not sure whose dreams they are. If only we capitalised on Indigenous sporting ability more. I guess getting Wilson in to win for us once a year is that kind of capitalising.

On the way home from the basketball game we passed the community oval. It has just had $14 000 spent on it: top soil, seed, fence. That’s all you need really. Except water. Knowing that there was very limited water supply to the oval the $14 000 was spent anyway. The solution? That evening we alked by the husband of the government business manger (Intervention money) stood in his stubby shorts holding a hose sprinkling the oval. A man, thumb over hose, standing in the middle of a football oval certainly fits the name ‘sprinkler’, (one who sprinkles) better than some of the contraptions at Albert Park or the MCG.

So we all prayed for rain. It came, in buckets, then stopped. At 35 degrees and 95% humidity there is not much chance of it happening for a while.

PS: any discussion on sport remains incomplete without some discussion of drinking. So an aside on drinking. In 1965, there was a widespread view that ‘the common set of citizenship capacities underlay’ the performance of both drinking and voting. One poll used to measure this asked people if they agreed or disagreed with the following: ‘I have nothing against people of another culture but allowing Aborigines to vote and to drink in public places is going a little too far.’ In 1958, the news that Albert Namatjira, who had been given citizenship, was going to jail for giving alcohol he legally bought to one of his relatives was the most well know news story in the history of Morgan Polling. Luckily, the House of Reps was pretty disgusted at linking voting and drinking (they even drunk to it their disgust) and again through Morgan polling of those asked 58% thought the court should have discretion over sentencing Namitjira. I wonder if they thought of having one of those rulings they gave Ian Thorpe allow him to drink underage after the 2000 Olympics. Luckily, Ian was not allowed to vote also, because who wouldn’t vote for a man that give you a drink.

[From sport]