Last modified: 2009-03-21 by jonathan dixon
Keywords: meewee | miwi | stars: southern cross | stars: pointers | wattle |
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Design © Patrick Byrt 1992
Image a FOTW-standardised version of an image by Susanne Martain
submitted 24 Sep 2004, used with permission.
The MeeWee Flag shows the four colours red, white, black and yellow that represent the symbolic four human skin colours as making up the earth and its people living under the stars of the Southern Cross in the southern night sky and with the sun shining during the day. It was designed in 1992 in a grassroots involvement with Ngarrindjeri and other Aboriginal people leading to the commemoration of the twenty fifth (25th) anniversary of the 1967 Referendum recognising Aboriginal people as lawful Australians. It promotes Indigenous Australian autonomy by recognition and respect for their cultural and spiritual beliefs. "Miwi" is a Ngarrindjeri word in the traditional Ngarrindjeri spiritual culture. (see this site)
The original MeeWee flag, in silk, is in Darwin with the Larakia singer June Mills (although that does not have the two pointers). It's been in use since 27 May 1992, when it was contemporaneously exhibited both at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra by the Koori activist Lyall Munroe with Wiradjuri Writer and Artist Kevin Gilbert and Ngarrindjeri meimeni Shirley Peisley [then from the State Library of South Australia where the placard of the flag revealed in Canberra was made up], and by the Ngarrindjeri and other Aboriginal women grassroots in Victoria Square, Adelaide, for the Flagging the Future 25 year commemoration of the 1967 Referendum.
The 1992 Victoria Square activities, which included Eartha Kitt (ad hoc), were organised by a committee which was chaired by the now ATSIC SA Zone Commissioner, Brian Butler, and the flag was initially revealed at a committee meeting in Tandanya, the National Aboriginal Cultural Institute before the anniversary.
At the World Indigenous Youth Conference in Darwin following the Flagging the Future activity, where the MeeWee Flag was taken, two pointers were requested at the conference to be added to the flag, after June Mills exhibited the flag to the participants.
The request was agreed to be incorporated and turned out to be consistent with the 1870 version of the official South Australian Colonial Flag.
The Flagging the Future was part of the background to the eventual design or exhibition of the Torres Strait Islander Flag, and the Elcho Island Flag presented to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Mr Robert Tickner MHR at Parliament House, Canberra, in the mid 1990s.
It was the express policy of the Flagging the Future aspect of the
Referendum commemoration program to promote the emergence of a variety of
new grassroots flags to firmly establish Indigenous public identity.
Patrick Byrt, 24 September 2004 (© 2001)
I am the copyright owner of the MeeWee flag. I give FOTW permission to reproduce the flag for inclusion on the FOTW website. I am also authorised to give permission from the copyright owner of the "jpg" image of the MeeWee flag for your displayon the FOTW, provided that the name of the copyright owner, Ms Susanne Martain, is acknowledged.
Likewise I authorise publication of the text you have explaining the development of this flag.
Patrick Byrt, 24 September 2004