Fake letters telling homeowners land will be reclaimed by Indigenous Australians
- A fake letter did the rounds in regional Victoria
- Homeowners were told their land had been reacquired
- READ MORE: Voice conspiracy debunked
A letter that told homeowners they risked losing their property to First Nations people has been slammed as fake.
The letter had been dropped off in mailboxes in Boort, north-west of Melbourne, and advised homeowners to seek legal advice to protect their homes from re-acquisition.
The letter falsely claimed to have been written by Dylan Clarke, a Wotjobaluk man who is a member of the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria.
Panicked locals were left alarmed after reading it forcing the assembly to step in and assure them it was fake before slamming it as ‘racist fear-mongering’.
A spokesperson for the assembly said the letter had created ‘unfounded fear about the re-acquisition of land titles’.
The matter has been referred to Victoria Police with a spokesperson confirming on Tuesday night they were looking into the ‘fraudulent letter’.
The one-page letter featured the assembly’s logo and ended with an acknowledgement of country, a link to the First Peoples’ website, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strat Islanders flags.
‘We are proud to announce that Treaty Negotiations are underway… we are at the next phase of reacquiring land,’ it read.
‘Consequently, Land Holders such as yourself will be formally contacted to arrange Geological and Anthropological inspections of the land.
‘As the First Nations representative for this local area, I look forward to meeting you personally during these research study activities.’
The letter then went on urge the recipient to ‘seek legal advice, as new Lease Holds may be negotiated’.
‘In conclusion, I thank you for your engagement an co-operation in these highly important matters, as we work as a community to right the wrongs of the Colonial Past and the Genocide of Indigenous Peoples that those events brought,’ the letter read.
The letter’s false claims of ‘reacquiring land’ caused a stir among those who believed they were about to be booted from their homes.
Once the real Mr Clarke became aware of the letter’s existence, he described it as ‘terribly sad and extremely frustrating’.
‘The lies in this letter are designed to depict us as something to be afraid of. It’s real “coming after your backyard” bull****,’ Mr Clarke said.
‘We’re trying to have constructive conversations in the community and someone is going to extraordinary lengths to poison the goodwill and scare people about all the positive things we can achieve together on the journey to Treaty.
‘We are better than this.’
Mr Clarke has since gone to the effort of penning his own letter to distribute throughout the area to let people know that the first one was a fake.
The co-chair of the assembly, Rueben Berg, a Gunditjmara man, said that he had no idea who sent out the letter or why they would have done so.
‘Sadly this has been a trend across our people’s history as when we’re advocating for our rights, when we’re advocating for benefits for our people, some people who don’t support that come out and spread lies,’ Mr Berg told the Guardian.
‘We know that treaty will bring better outcomes for Victorians.’
Boort’s local member Peter Walsh, who also acts as the opposition’s Aboriginal Affairs spokesperson, said the Coalition ‘strongly condemned’ the letter.
‘In recent days, some land owners in the state’s north-west have received the letter, which contains damaging mistruths on land reacquisition,’ Mr Walsh said.
A state-wide treaty is currently being organised between the assembly and the Andrews government, with negotiations set to start in the coming months.
Victoria’s treaty has the potential to change institutional structures within the state like the criminal justice system.
Separate treaties with traditional owner groups will also be used to resolve issues in region-specific disputes in the state.