*** Updated on 5 & 7 September with photographs and details of meetings with politicians – see bottom of post ***
Almost a year after he left Perth on an epic walk for justice across the continent, Clinton Pryor has arrived in Canberra to a warm welcome on Ngunnawal country from a crowd gathered at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in front of Old Parliament House.
People travelled from Perth, Melbourne, Kalgoorlie and other places to bear witness to 27-year-old Pryor’s arrival on Sunday, greeting him with cheers, tears and speeches calling for justice.
Pryor’s walk has highlighted the issues of injustice affecting Indigenous communities as well as more widely, including homelessness, poverty, a justice system that fails First Nations peoples, and oppressive policies.
As he has walked across the continent, Pryor, a Wajuk, Balardung, Kija and Yulparitja man, has been making history, gathering stories, connecting up people, and inspiring many – including six-year-old Isiah Hobba.
Watch the clip at the end of this post to hear how the Canberra event reunited two old school friends who hadn’t seen each other for 60 years – Dr Noel Nannup and Kim Leevers.
Watch this compilation clip
Romlie Mokak, CEO of the Lowitja Institute in Melbourne, tweeted that it was a monumental day that had gone down in history.
WA Labor Senator Sue Lines was there to welcome Pryor, but otherwise politicians were noticeable by their absence.
According to Clinton’s team, he is expected to meet with MPs on Monday, and there will be a public event attended by politicians on Tuesday morning.
The walk isn’t quite over for Clinton. Due to an injury delaying him over the past few days, he still has to complete some of the final leg in coming days.
Old friends, reunited
Dr Noel Nannup (R, Clinton Pryor’s mentor and Kurongkurl Katijtin Elder in Residence at Edith Cowan University in Perth) and Kim Leevers, Chairperson of Wingecarribee Reconciliation Group, meet for the first time in about 60 years, since they were primary school students on Yamatji country in Geraldton, Western Australia. Watch them below.
Meeting MPs and others
The meeting with Prime Minister Turnbull and Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion left Pryor frustrated and feeling disrespected – see these reports by BuzzFeed, The Guardian Australia, ABC and NITV.
Previously at Croakey
Watch an interview about the story of the Gundungurra cloak.