Australia’s StoryWHERE THE ENGLISH AND THE INDIGENOUS ABORIGINAL PEOPLE MET, CLASHED, APOLOGIZED AND ARE MOVING FORWARD TOWARD A MORE PEACEFUL CO-EXISTENCE. P R E S E N TAT I O N B Y K AT H Y H A U E I S E N L S C - C Y FAI R AL L FEBRUARY 7, 2013
Basic assumptions: Australia’s story is connected to our story We can learn from the past All humans want/need basically the same things: Food and shelter Community Sense of belonging and being respected Structure and order to make sense of life and the world Sense of control over one’s destiny
Some Stats about Australia Approximate size of the Lower 48 United States Approximate population of Texas (21 million) Seven major cities: Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane, Darwin Six states plus several island territories Did not gain full independence from England until the 1980’s – but did so without a Revolutionary War 16 hours ahead of Houston 2% of population consists of the people who were there before the British
Why do people migrate? Escape over-crowding Wars Draughts and other events that cause famines Curiosity about what’s out there in the unexplored world Promises of a better life in a new place Brought or sent to new lands as servants or slaves by other immigrants
Where did the Aborigines of Australia come from? Africa, by way of Asia and the many islands between Australia and Asia. Probably first entered through Torres Straits between Australia and Papua New Guinea Island hopping during times when sea levels were lower Estimates of when vary from 40,000 to 125,000 years ago Mungo Man – oldest remains found to date- 42,000 years old
What does the term Aborigine mean? Latin ―Ab‖ – from ―Origo‖ – original or primary Aborigine is the noun Preferred term is currently Aboriginal people or Indigenous Australians
What was their life like before the English arrived? Many different groups, speaking 200 to 300 different languages and 600 dialects Hunter/gatherers - no farming, permanent settlements, or live stock Well adapted to using natural world for food, shelter, medicine, clothing Good managers of the land – i.e. annual controlled small fires to keep undergrowth clear of weeds and debris
Well developed social/spiritual life Land is sacred with special holy places – such as tree under which one was born Cave paintings – interpretations of dreams Walk About tradition Well defined system for selecting mates to preserve vitality of the group Well established traditions around how to honor the deceased
What brought the English? Loss of American colonies in the late 1700’s led to search for new lands to colonize James Cook had explored Australia; several settlements were already established Overcrowding in England was causing problems Prisons were full of petty criminals – some arrested for stealing food – held to ship when ready Some prisoners had skills useful to establishing a new colony – some young children – one age 82! Solve two problems: * Reduce over-crowded prisons in England * Provide free labor to develop new colony in Australia
When did the Europeans arrive? Dutch sailors discovered Australia in 1600’s, but weren’t all that impressed. James Cook explored the region in 1770 Australia Day is celebrated January 26, the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet to Sydney Cove Eleven Ships, carrying: 1,530 people 736 convicts, 17 of their children 211 Marines, 27 of their wives, 14 of their children 300 officers and staff, led by Arthur Phillips
Getting Started Convicts were used as slave labor to establish a settlement First free (non-prisoners) arrived in 1793 – motivated by: Free passage Free land Two years worth of provisions including tools and farm supplies Promise of free labor from the prisoners who were housed in barracks and also given two years worth of rations and clothing
When English and Aboriginals Meet Native population dropped dramatically from diseases such as small pox, measles, and Tuberculosis One group buried 90% of it’s population within a few years after First Fleet Languages nearly wiped out—50 to 100 are gone; all but 20 are in danger of becoming extinct. Through the 1800’s many Aboriginal People died from small pox Appropriation of land and water to graze sheep and cattle continued through first half of 20th century
By the mid-1800’s scientists were exporting skulls to study human brain development - it was easier to ship the heads without a body attached As early as 1834 the English enlisted the services of the Aboriginal People to track missing English people and help scout out new grazing land and watering holes
Treaties and Other Betrayals John Batman, a glazier (rancher) made an agreement with several Aboriginal men near Melbourne June 6, 1835 to buy land from them Highly unlikely Aboriginal men understand concept of selling land Treaty voided by Governor of New South Wales a few months later on August 26,1835 Declared Aboriginal people less than fully human and, therefore, unable to enter into treaties or contracts.
English ―Whites Only‖ Policies Merge Aboriginal people into white culture ―for their own good‖ Control marriages Take children at young age to raise in white culture Try to urbanize the population Educate children via School of the air programs
The Rabbit Proof Fence History • One English transplant missed his hunts and imported a dozen rabbits • Which reproduced, and reproduced, and reproduced – like rabbits • 1901 to 1907 constructed a continuous fence from Southern Coast for 1,139 miles to the Northwest area – to contain the rabbits and protect crops
Film made in 2002, based on the 1996 book Follow the Rabbit Proof Fence Written by daughter of one of the girls in the story 3 girls – Mollie, Gracie, and Daisy - ages 8 to 15 walked for nine weeks trying to get home Taken in 1932 from their families in Jigalong in Northwest Australia Sent to boarding school 2,400 miles away at a Native Settlement north of Perth
English Policy Toward Half-castes Goal: Save the children from lives of deprivation, domestic violence, ignorance, and poverty Train them to be domestic workers, teach them English, control marriages and births so as to eventually absorb the native population into the now dominant white population Taken from parents by state authorities by force, assuming parents and children, like domestic animals, would adjust to the separation
The Stolen Generation(s) Late 1800’s to mid-1900’s – 70 years Minimally 1 in 10 children forcibly removed from their families A. O. Neville, the West Australia Chief Protector of Aborigines from 1915 to 1940 Previous policy of ―breeding out the coloured‖– miscegenation – marry them to European men so that within two to three generations the blacks would become white ―Half-caste‖ population grew from 850 in 1903 to 4,245 by 1935 New policies forbid sexual relations between whites and Aborigines without permission Even marriage among Aboriginal people required permission from the state
Meanwhile, back in England Australia was considered a cluster of self-governing colonies of the United Kingdom from the First Fleet in 1788 until 1901 New South Wales (Sydney) Victoria (Melbourne) South Australia (Adelaide) Queensland (Brisbane) Tasmania (Hobart) Northern Territory (Darwin) January 1901, by Royal Assent, Australia moved to a joint government relationship with Britain – meaning the reigning monarch was the head of state During WWII the English took a beating in Singapore and the Aussies began to look to the US for more support and defense (Darwin was bombed repeatedly during WWII)
•In 1942 Australia activated an earlier statue thatgranted authority to enter into treaties and othernegotiations with others of their own accord•In 1986 Australia declared itself a Sovereign,Independent and Federal Nation – but the Queen wasstill head of state. However, England could no longermake rules for Australia
Back to the challenges of the Whites and the Natives In 1937 the government sent officials around Australia to discuss the The report of the 1937 conference Aboriginal People’s welfare policies. stated, the destiny of the natives of aboriginal origin, but not of the How to best absorb mixed-descent full blood, lies in their ultimate people into the mainstream absorption by the people of the Australian population. Commonwealth and it therefore recommends that all efforts be Give the children new directed to that end. Policy- names, making it difficult, if not makers expected that mixed- impossible for parents and children descent Aborigines would to find one another. assimilate. They thought that the white blood in mixed- descent Aborigines enabled them to be Deal with the rising problems of educated in European ways. alcoholism, domestic violence, poverty, unemployment, fai lure to adapt, etc.
The Times, They Were A-Changing As Australia was becoming a nation of its own, policies and attitudes toward the Aboriginal People were also shifting As European-descendent Australians learned more about earlier policies, momentum grew for change and reform The Civil Rights movement in the 1960’s here stirred some of the Aboriginal people into action
―We’re Sorry‖ The Prime Minister was urged to issue an official apology for the treatment of the past. John Howard refused to do so. In 2008 Prime Minister won the vote partially by promising to issue an official apology. It was issued February 13
Rudd’s Apology – February 13, 2008―To the mothers and fathers, to the brothers and sisters we say sorry. And for the indignity and degradation on a proud people and a proud culture we say sorry."There is nothing I can say today that will take away the pain... Words are not that powerful,‖―(This is) the start of a new approach towards Aborigines which includes helping them find their lost families, closing pay gaps and a 17-year difference in life expectancy between Aborigines and white Australians."The mood of the nation is for reconciliation now.‖
Two WorldsReconcilingAboriginal performerDjakapurraMunyarryun plays thedidjeridoo amid theSea of Hands onSydneys Bondi Beach,symbolizingreconciliation betweenAborigines and whiteAustralians.TorstenBlackwood/AFP/GettyImages
Lessons Learned To quote Rodney King, ―Can’t we all get along?‖ We tread on thin ice when one culture assumes its ways are superior to those of other cultures. We ALL descend from people who migrated—the only differences are how long ago and from where. As long as one group assumes the right to control another for person gain, we will continue to have conflicts, wars, and social problems Sometimes it is good to apologize for the errors of the past – even if we didn’t commit them. G’Day from Down Under
A particular slide catching your eye?
Clipping is a handy way to collect important slides you want to go back to later.