King Brown Country: The Betrayal of Papunya (Paperback)
Investigative journalism at its best, this devastating, powerful portrait of an Australian Aboriginal community, once known for its art tradition and now known for its violence and corruption, digs into the core of indigenous issues today"Why don't you check out Papunya? It's the sniffing capital of Australia, it's a Bermuda triangle for taxpayer funds. Nobody in the NT government gives a rats. The council just tossed out World Vision. People are frightened to talk." Award-winning journalist Russell Skelton's five year journey of inquiry that coincided with one of the biggest shifts in indigenous policy in Australian history began on the day he received this email. Set against the backdrop of Papunya, a Northern Territory Aboriginal community whose history showed promise but whose dysfunction is now more prominent that its famous artwork, this book exposes unmitigated misery, shocking levels of domestic violence and sex abuse, and extreme alcohol and substance dependency. Above all, it reveals how systematic failure of indigenous policy betrayed a once secure community. It also introduces politician, activist, and artist Alison Anderson, a woman whose presence has dominated Papunya and the politics of the Northern Territory. This is a powerful and shaming portrait of a community in crisis.
Russell Skelton is a contributing editor to the Age. He has received a United Nations Association of Australia Peace Award for his reports on Aboriginal disadvantage as well as a Walkley Award and Grant Hattam Quill Award, both for journalism.