Earthdream Convoyage

The country got a big power
Big energy'
Somebody got to go back and say sorry to that country'
(uncle Kev Buzzacott - Arabunna elder)

'they're murdering us for our country. These people can't put me out. I came from the desert. I was born to do this job. It's not about power. It's my job to look after my people and my country. The people in government don't belong in my country - they stole and killed for that right.
(Kevin Buzzacott 'Looking after the land' speech - outside government house Adelaide 27/12/99)

Many voices could resonate something of the Earthdream 2000 pilgrimage currently spiraling up the guts of the continent. The words of Arabunna leader uncle Kevin ('its bigger than us') Buzzacott, who holds court at Lake Eyre South - and the imagination of hundreds of party/protestors gathered at the Keepers Of the Lake Eyre camp over the past few weeks - are a good start.

An international convoy of eco-radicals, technomads and white saddhus have washed up on the red sands of Earthdream. After the caranvaserie of new age mutantos and chaos technicians beached at Wilpena Pound in the Flinders Ranges to experience the planetary alignment, we made our way out past the Gammon ranges and Lake Frome to Beverley uranium mine. Over several days, a peaceful protest camp blockaded the main entrance to this US owned abomination which will extract uranium oxide via an insitu leaching process using sulphuric acid. The method, prohibited in every other OECD country, poses a real risk of contaminating the continent's precious Great Artesian Basin with radioactive acid waste.

Earthdreamers, invited to the Beverley site by Ron and Kelvin, senior men of the Adnyamathanya, the indigenous custodians of the region, have learned that Heathgate Resources, the Australian subsidiary of the US General Atomics, have generated and subsequently exploited divisions in the Adnyamathanya population in their efforts to legitimate mining activities on the lease. As uncle Kev has conveyed in a language made for sampling, 'they got no jurisdiction'.

Drive out, park up and lock on. During the peace camp, over 30 people were arrested for trespassing on the mine lease. Most were subject to unnecessary force and , while being detained, human rights abuses, by members of the police special division STAR force - officers and commanders of which are now subject to wider investigation, media scrutiny and pending legal action. Events at Beverley have lent support to Kev's Walking the Land trek for 'peace, freedom and healing the land and its peoples' which began at Lake Eyre on the 10th of June and will terminate at the Sydney Olympics in September.

In the following week, the convoy made camp on the main entrance route to Olympic Dam uranium mine at Roxby downs. There, a symbolic blockade was mounted to protest Australia's largest uranium mine operated by the region's principal employer, Western Mining Co. A large contingent of police were subject to speedbass emitted from the rear of the vegie powered Lab Rats sonic assault vehicle as it backed up on the main entrance to the mine on day one of the camp. The solar powered beats animated the carnival of protest fanning out ahead. Uncle Kev was at the helm to once again exhort the management of Olympic Dam to cease an operation which depletes water from the Lake Eyre Basin to the tune of around 42 million litres per day, drying up precious springs on Arabunna land to the north, causing irreparable damage to sacred sites - an operation which according to Kev is 'an invasion' robbing us of our right to life'.

That afternoon saw the inaugural performance of Half Life theatre company's anti-uranium road show 'Consider it Dug' in front of the mine's gates. The hit performance was repeated a few nights later inside the blockade circle with miners and the now wounded 'Star farce' in attendance, and two days later at Roxby's primary school. The blockade, with the Ohms not Bombs Peace Bus and the Lab Rats truck parked across opposite ends of the tarmac, was an excellent example of technomadic activism - one loud and fast TAZ (Terra-ist Auto-numinous Zone) in a long running campaign for a nuclear free future.

After weeks of protest, Earthdreamers were ready to release. Land Ravers and coaster ashram-wagon trains gravitated to Alberrie Creek just east of Lake Eyre South where Robin Mutoid and helpers had been raising a desert dance floor, replete with the fire-artistry and scrap-metal wizardry for which the Mutoid Waste Co is renowned. With the winching of two light planes strapped together on the wing to form a towering Pi monolith, Earthdream's 'portal' was aloft. Several sonic mobs converged with the Bedlam sound system to generate three days and nights of doof - escalating on Sunday morning with several hours of trance and a sunrise to die for.

Here in Coober Pedy, edge safari contingents are encamped in and around town. In the first week, Steve Bedlam and Bashment Bish laid down rough cut ragga at an opening of a café situated at the base of the low rent city gate apartments. The phalanx of ferals occupying the place spilled out into the streets. The airwaves have been occupied (Dusty Radio) and freaks were in the streets mobilising for a back street performance then party 10 km out of town on Saturday/Sunday 10/11. Many Kungka Tjuta from Coober came for the party, where they witnessed two Earthdream productions and were mesmerized by Robin 'mutoid' Cook's fire organ. Ronnie the Sonic Reike Master launched psy-trance at sunrise followed by hard beats from Negusa Negast on the Jupiter3 system. It made Mad Max look like Mild Mildred!

Earthdream has already generated strong alliances with the Adnyamathanya, Arabunna and Pitjantjatjara peoples along the expedition's trajectory. Lasting friendships have been formed and the potential for future actions and celebrations in solidarity with indigenous people is real. This is the kind of reconciliatory outcome that Robin Cook had envisioned as an underlying purpose of the pilgrimage when the Earthdream was seeded more than ten years ago.

The unfolding of Robin's mega-tribal vision stands as a testament to a healthy earth defender consciousness occupying the edges of Australian (and international) youth culture. Eco, rainbow and techno tribes have joined forces in the journey to the center (and top end) of the continent. Out here, non-indigenous convoyagers are undergoing untold mutations. Sharing a commitment to celebrate and defend natural and cultural heritage, identifying with indigenous landscapes and peoples, they are becoming closer to country. En route to the center, feraliens are going native.

If you can't join the convoy en route this year as we gravitate towards Uluru for the winter solstice (June 21), and then up to Darwin and across to Queensland, plan for the next year's Earthdream pilgrimage.

dr g