The Northern Territory Board of Inquiry’s report into sexual abuse of Aboriginal children entitled “Little Children are Sacred” has sparked a federal military takeover of Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory. The report proposes a series of long-term measures, “based on the allocation of large-scale funding to education, health, counselling and other services, in collaboration and consultation with the communities themselves.” Prime Minister John Howard’s martial law “crackdown” has more to do with stigmatising and whipping up hysteria before the 2007 election than helping Aboriginal communities. There is no reason to think this is any different from the episode know as the ‘Stolen Generations’.
Rabbit-Proof Fence starts with title cards saying: “Western Australia 1931.” For 100 years the Aboriginal Peoples have resisted the invasion of their lands by white settlers. Now, a special law, the Aborigines Act, controls their lives in every detail. Mr. A. O. Neville, the Chief Protector of Aborigines, is the legal guardian of every Aborigine in the State of Western Australia. He has the power ‘to remove any half-caste child’ from their family, from anywhere within the state.
The beautiful film follows the Australia state kidnapping of Molly, Daisy, and Grace (two sisters and a cousin who are 14, 10, and 8) They are taken 1,500 miles away from their home, denied their identity, and forced to adapt to a strange new world. With determination and resolve Molly guides the girls on an epic escape, keeping ahead of the authorities, over 1,500 miles of Australia’s outback following the rabbit-proof fence that bisects the country and will bring them home.
Rabbit-Proof Fence is an earnest and deep film. It takes an important look on perhaps the dirtiest secret of Australian history, which is unfortunately still going on.