A spectacularly ill-timed tweet from VicForests is being called out for trying to ‘celebrate’ NAIDOC week while literally destroying natural habitats.
VicForests sent out this tweet on Thursday, along with black, yellow and red emojis to symbolise the Aboriginal flag.
“VicForests would like to acknowledge Australia’s traditional owners and custodians of the land in which it operates, and pay its respects to elders past and present. We treasure our partnership with indigenous [sic] communities during this very special #NAIDOCWeek2020.”
VicForests would like to acknowledge Australia’s traditional owners and custodians of the land in which it operates, and pay its respects to elders past and present. We treasure our partnership with indigenous communities during this very special #NAIDOCWeek2020. ⚫️????????
— VicForests (@VicForestsComms) November 11, 2020
Whoever sent that tweet decided to use Twitter’s new function to limit replies, probably sensing that it wasn’t going to Go Down Well. (They also failed to capitalise ‘Indigenous’, which is such basic common sense it’s literally a government agency guideline.)
What they might not have counted on, however, was Twitter’s quote-tweet function.
“So tired of agencies and governments who acknowledge country whilst they desecrate it,” Senator Lidia Thorpe, who is the first Aboriginal senator from Victoria, said in response.
“Just stop with the hollow tokenism, you should be unwelcomed to country. Acknowledging country is abiding by the Laws of that Land. Stop the destruction!!”
So tired of agencies and governments who acknowledge country whilst they desecrate it. Just stop with the hollow tokenism, you should be unwelcomed to country. Acknowledging country is abiding by the Laws of that Land. Stop the destruction!! https://t.co/MFzueBDeIl
— Lidia Thorpe (@lidia__thorpe) November 12, 2020
If you’re not familiar with VicForests, here’s a quick run-down of why its acknowledgement of the land’s traditional owners went down like a lead balloon.
In May this year, the Federal Court found it had been logging in areas against a federal conservation act, destroying the habitats of two threatened species: the critically endangered Leadbeater’s possum and the vulnerable greater glider.
“Not only do VicForests’ forestry operations damage or destroy existing habitat critical to the survival of the two species, they also prevent new areas of forest from developing into such habitat in the future,” the case summary said.
A few months later, an independent audit found multiple issues at VicForests, including failing to adequately survey for threatened species.
And that’s even before you get into the Djab Wurrung tree situation, which while not directly involving VicForests (that’s the work of the Western Highway upgrade), leads back to the same spot: the Victorian Government.
“This is a perfect case study of what’s wrong with modern NAIDOC,” Meriki Onus, a Gunai and Gunditjmara woman and radio host, said on Twitter about VicForest’s tweet.
“Any coloniser can have a RAP and make empty tweets about our holidays.
“We hate it.”
i would like to acknowledge that this is fucking bullshit https://t.co/tpJ78yODHk
— doomsday profit (@dprest0n) November 12, 2020
Blah Blah Blah.. we'll continue logging. Cheers https://t.co/6w2Zpu96xX
— SamAntix (@SamGriLaLaLa) November 12, 2020
— Eco-shout (@Ecoshouting) November 12, 2020
at what point is this little speech an insult instead of some weak ass colonial 'acknowledgement' white people say to feel better about their crimes. https://t.co/VyzNalQegF
— sarah rollison (the hot one) (@UB6IB9MFER) November 12, 2020
The VicForests that logs old growth and regrowth, and calls cops on traditional owners? Can't even be bothered to capitalise Indigenous? I have to laugh https://t.co/iAOTwcJWvD
— nayook. (@ni_ruh) November 12, 2020
Sometimes, it’s better to never tweet.