Indigenous Round & US Nationalism

Op-Ed/comment by Sasha Uzunov

The Australian Football league (AFL), the governing body of Australian Rules Football in Australia, every year has an Indigenous Australian round named after the late Sir Doug Nicholls, a well-respected indigenous leader and former footballer.

This round is intended to pay its respects to the Indigenous peoples of Australia and their involvement in the game. But paradoxically, some would say hypocritically and opportunistically, the AFL also supports and promotes US nationalism.

Going back to the 1950s US began spying on and persecuting Indigenous Australian leaders such as William Onus for fear of him and others visiting the US and linking with the US Civil Rights Movement. We know this because there was enormous negative publicity in the Australian press at the time and subsequently declassified Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) file on Onus confirmed this. It also revealed that Doug Nicholls and other leaders were being monitored by the US via ASIO. 

The bizarre thing is the AFL regards disgraced ex US Central Intelligence Agency Director and ex US Army General in the Iraq War, David Petraeus, as role model for leadership. This is insane. His agency the CIA did the spying on Indigenous Australian leaders beginning in the early 1950s and for all we know that still continues to this day. This is so disrespectful to Indigenous Australians and all Australians in general.

The US government would be very sensitive to militant Indigenous Australian activism, especially if it touched upon the US spy base called Pine Gap in Australia’s Northern Territory. This is located on native land.

The AFL should drop its support for US Nationalism . The AFL aligning itself with the US government and in particular the US NFL, which has colonial issues with native indigenous Americans (Indians), is hypocritical to say the least. NFL has been accused of racism by native Americans.

ASIO file on William Onus reveals US intelligence interest in him and other Indigenous Australian leaders such as Doug Nicholls
BIG BROTHER! 1952 press clipping in William Onus’ ASIO file. It reveals the US had an extensive library of fingerprints of Australians. This was collected through visa applications.