Aboriginal politics are now dominated by demands for reconciliation, self-determination, and acknowledgment of culture. But these concepts – defined and promoted by an urban elite of educated Aboriginal activists – hide the bigger truth that most people of Aboriginal descent today are already integrated into the wider society and are doing well, if belatedly.
More importantly, the Aboriginal industry fails to address the needs of the 20 per cent minority of their population who still live in despair. Those who remain in remote and rural Australia are being asked to build a New Jerusalem on poor lands with ancient cultural habits. This captive minority needs to reach out, literally, but the politics of their leaders keeps them locked where they are.