Uncle Kevin Buzzacott

kevin buzzacott

Often referred to as Uncle Kev as an Aboriginal elder, is an Indigenous Australian from the Arabunna nation in northern South Australia. He has campaigned widely for cultural recognition, justice and land rights for Aboriginal people.

He has initiated and led numerous campaigns against uranium mining at the BHP Billiton owned Olympic Dam mine in South Australia for their environmental contamination, dismissment of Indigenous land ownership and the exploitation of the water from the Great artesian. He is the honorary president of the Australian nuclear free alliance – See ANFA

He is an amazing man, with a gentle disposition, he is greatly respected by both Indigenous and Non-indigenous Australians for his ongoing efforts for protection of country, culture and spirit.

Awards

In 2001 Kevin Buzzacott was awarded the prestigious Nuclear Free Futures Award, in Ireland, which provided him with an opportunity to travel to Europe and speak to supporters of Indigenous land rights.

The Australian Conservation Foundation awarded Buzzacott the 2007 Peter Rawlinson Award for two decades of work highlighting the impacts of uranium mining and promoting a nuclear free Australia. ACF Executive Director Don Henry describing him in the award citation as;

“A passionate and effective advocate for sustainable water management and for responsibility, respect and recognition of the rights, aspirations and traditional knowledge of Australia’s Indigenous peoples. Kevin is a cultural practitioner, an activist, an advocate and an educator. He has travelled tirelessly, talking to groups large and small about the impacts of uranium mining and the threats posed by the nuclear industry. Kevin has had a profound impact on the lives of many people – especially young people – with his many tours and ‘on-country’ events. For many young activists ‘Uncle Kev’ is truly an unsung hero and, against the current pro-nuclear tide, his is a very important struggle and story”

Campaigns

In April 1999, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, and the Minister for the Environment, Robert Hill, formally refused to pursue the World heritage listing of Lake Eyre, instead allowing a mining company, BHP Billiton to commence mining operations. The appellant, Kevin Buzzacott, claimed that Downer’s failure to pursue World heritage listing amounted to genocide against his people. Buzzacott v’s Minister for the environment was heard in the Federal Court of Australia and was decided in favour of the Government.

Buzzacott initiated a Peace Walk from Lake Eyre to the 2000 Olympic games in Sydney and another from the Olympic Dam Uranium Mine to Hiroshima, Japan.

In 2002 Buzzacott reclaimed his tribes’ Emu and Kangaroo totems used in the Australian Coat of Arms from outside Parliament House, Canberra. He was forcibly arrested 3 years later at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy for theft of the Coat of Arms. This resulted in a lengthy court battle where he served the government with a counter writ on charges of genocide.

In 2003 the Special broadcasting association and the Australian film commission Indigenous Unit produced a documentary called We of Little Voice in the Australia By Numbers series, which featured Kevin Buzzacott on a journey through northern South Australia to hear the stories of Aboriginal elders who have experienced the effects of the nuclear industry from uranium mining to nuclear testing.

He has given support to the Aboriginal tent embassy in Canberra where he lit the Fire for Justice in 1998. He was also involved in the 2006 Camp Sovereignty at the 2006 Commonwealth games in Melbourne, called by many indigenous people as the Stolen-wealth Games.

In Melbourne on 21 April 2007 a group of non-indigenous and indigenous supporters raised money in support of his efforts to raise awareness about Uranium Mining issues.

In February of 2012, Kevin Buzzacott legally challenged the Commonwealth Environment Minister Tony Burke’s environmental approval of the Olympic Dam mine expansion. Environmental approval was granted by state and federal governments in October of 2011. ‘Uncle Kev’ is being represented by the Environmental Defenders’ Office and will appear in the Federal Court in Adelaide on April 3rd and 4th, 2012. His case will also feature in the forthcoming documentary film “Cuttlefish Country”

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