Advocating for Indigenous Genius, Indigeneity and Wellbeing

‘Kartiya are like Toyotas. When they break down we get another one.’ – remark by a Western Desert woman about whitefellas who work in Indigenous communities

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Kartiya are like Toyotas White workers on Australia’s cultural frontier by Kim Mahood

UNLIKE the broken Toyotas, which are abandoned where they fall, cannibalised, overturned, gutted and torched, the broken kartiya go away – albeit often feeling they have been cannibalised, overturned, gutted and torched. They leave behind them dying gardens and unfinished projects, misunderstandings and misplaced good intentions. The best leave foundations on which their replacements can build provisional shelters while they scout the terrain, while the worst leave funds unaccounted for, relationships in ruins and communities in chaos.

There are many reasons why kartiya break down. Some break themselves, bringing with them baggage lugged from other lives, investing in the people they’ve come to help qualities that are projections of their own anxieties and ideals. Eager and needy, they are prime material for white slavery, rushing to meet demands that increase in direct proportion to their willingness to respond to them. They create a legacy of expectation and dependency, coupled with one of failure and disappointment.

Kartiya are like Toyotas

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