Shadrach James Responds to the Bleakley Report

Was it one conference or was it two? Either way, Shadrach James had the chance to talk to politicians as well as missionaries. And the Herald of Melbourne gave his talk a thorough report. And, now that he’s talking to politicians, he’s notably positive about missionaries.

“My People Seek Part in Country’s Development”
Mr Shadrach Livingston James, a full-blooded aborigine, attended the conference today called by the Minister for Home Affairs (Mr Abbott) to discuss the Bleakley report on native problems. Mr James represented the aborigines.
Mr S.L. James is a fullblood aborigine with the poise and cultured speech of the educated white man. Though still quite a young man, he is profound in his reflections on the problem of emancipating his people. He wants them to take their share in the development of the country of which he feels they are the rightful heirs.
His father was for some years a teacher in the Cummeragunja district in. N.S.W., but has now retired and is living in Melbourne. Mr James, sent., is noticeably proud of his clever son, and hopes to see him accomplish great things for the cause to which they are both whole-heartedly devoted.
“The missionaries -are the best help our people have,” said Mr. S.L. James today. “It is to their efforts that we owe what opportunities we have to raise the standard of our civilisation, and take our place in the modern world.
“Many of us are as intelligent and as well educated as lots of white men, but we cannot get the chance to prove our ability. Even Government departments discriminate against us.
“What we want is an aboriginal representative in Parliament, and a native administrator working for us under the direction of the Minister.
“The hearts of many of my people are burning with ambition, but the only way they can rise is with the aid and encouragement of the Government.
“Our lands have been taken, and for lack of opportunity we are a backward people. The missionaries have tried to teach as many of us as possible. Now we ask for proper scope to develop.
“I think that the spiritual leadership of, the churches is of the greatest value, but it should be supplemented by reforms in the civil administration.”


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