CLINTON PRYOR is a 26-year-old Aboriginal man on a seven-month journey through central Australia, via Uluru – in summer – to meet prime minister Malcolm Turnbull in Canberra.
A key figure in the Matagarup/Heirisson Island fight with Perth council, Mr Pryor took leave from his job at Perth Tafe and plans to confront the PM about a list of grievances which grows longer as he encounters justice issues along the way.
“I’m walking for justice because there’s no justice for my people…I’m walking for everyone’s issues, not just my own.” Mr Pryor says.
Justice for Elija
Dubbed “the Walker,” he was in Kalgoorlie earlier this week for the funeral of Elijah Doughty, the 14 year-old Aboriginal boy whose death sparked race riots in August when the accused man was charged with manslaughter; many wanted it upgraded to murder.
“I have seen so much hurt and pain in my people’s eyes today at the funeral”, Mr Pryor wrote on his blog.
“It make me understand that I need to finish this walk to get justice for my people and young Elijah.”
After one month of walking, Mr Pryor is in high spirits as he approaches the toughest section: a 550 km stretch of scorching desert road between Laverton and Warburton which he claims has not been walked since the “old time” of 230 years ago when his people followed song-lines towards Uluru.
Before setting off on the walk from Matagarup, Mr Pryor was an activist for preserving Aboriginal culture, against closing remote communities, and supported Perth’s homeless.
Mr Pryor is also thinking about how to address corporate greed, environmental exploitation, and indigenous incarceration.
Mr Turnbull is not yet aware of Mr Pryor’s approach, but SBS reports former PM Kevin Rudd has already offered encouragement over the phone, and said he would like to meet Mr Pryor at Uluru.
Mr Pryor will be disappointed if he can’t get a face-to-face with Mr Turnbull after walking all the way to Canberra from WA.
“He better speak to me… If he doesn’t come out and speak to me then he just proves my point that the government doesn’t give a crap about the people,” Mr Pryor said.
Mr Pryor’s support team includes a cyclist who rides directly behind him, and two vehicles carrying supplies: camping equipment, food, emergency supplies and fuel, all paid via crowdfunding.
A “Nyangar, Wongi and Yamatji man”, Mr Pryor has already raised over $14,000, which he points out is entirely from the generosity of working class people.
He’s still raising money through http://www.startsomegood.com/clintonswalkforjustice and is hoping for funds for a satellite phone for the most isolated stretch, if anyone is feeling generous.
by TRILOKESH CHANMUGAM