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Canberra buys the rights to the tribal flag

V.Exactly 50 years ago, four Indigenous Australians set up a parasol on the lawn in front of the then Parliament House in Canberra. The country celebrated “Australia Day”, a national holiday in 1788 when the “First Fleet” landed in Sydney Bay. Michael Anderson, Billy Craig, Bertie Williams and Tony Cooray did not want to celebrate at that time. They flew from Sydney’s Redfern area to the capital to protest the Australian government’s opposition to Native land rights. They called the small resistance area under the umbrella an “embassy” as an expression of native sovereignty. Activist Gary Foley later retorted that the government’s attitude “made the tribes strangers on our own land.” “So, like other strangers, we needed a message.”

The campaign was so successful that it continued in one form or another for the next five decades. Parasol became a group of tents and then a container. At that time, a flag flew over the “embassy of the tent”, which has been called ever since, which became a symbol of the tribal people and their struggle for equal rights and compensation for the crimes committed by the white colonial masters. . You might think the design of a yellow circle for the sun, a red bar for the earth and a black bar for people is very simple and effective. In fact, although the tribe settled on the Fifth Continent 65,000 years ago, the flag of the tribe has been around for more than five decades. Harold Thomas, a tribal painter and member of the Lourdes Tribes, designed the flag in 1971 in response to the growing civil rights movement.

The company sent letters of suspension and dismissal

In the years that followed, he became a symbol of native identity, and not just because of his dedication to the “Dent Embassy”. It was also declared the official flag of Australia in the mid-1990s. Since then, it has flown frequently with the flags of the National and Torres Strait Islands. Harold Thomas saw his design spread further. Other artists said they were the creators of the iconic work. But in 1997 a court declared Thomas a law teacher. This led to criticism from some of his fellow campaigners. According to them, the flag has long been more than the work of an artist, it gained its importance only through the political commitment of thousands of people.

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The court ruling gave the artist the right to separate from his family at an early age and sell licenses for use, like many tribesmen who were born in Alice Springs in 1947 and were part of a “stolen generation”. Flag. One of those licenses went to WAM Clothing Company, a “white” company with no affiliation with the Indigenous Peoples and Civil Rights Movement. The company began sending ceasefire and withdrawal letters to companies such as the Australian Football League for using the tribal flag on clothing. Demands to remove or pay for the logo have now sparked copyright controversy over the logo in general.

The controversy ended somewhat with the purchase of the flag, equivalent to the 12.4 million euros announced by the government on Tuesday. Now every Australian can use the flag. As Prime Minister Scott Morrison put it, not everyone thinks this “frees the tribal flag for Australians”. “The flag was created as a symbol of protest against the people who now hold it,” one Netizen wrote. “I can not avoid being sad again,” wrote another.