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Is “many things in one. Among them, a kind of narrative of things that once happened; a kind of charter of things that still happen; and a kind of logos principle of order”.
Are strongly connected with place. All life is interconnected with country; thus people are connected to the land, other people and all living things through the land.
Tribal groups were made up of clans, each descended from and named for a spirit ancestor of the Dreamtime.
This spirit ancestor was symbolised by the animals, bird or fish that was the clan totem.
Each individual belonged to a personal totem, which was part of his or her name.
The totem creature was a guardian spirit that warned of danger or communicated important news about relatives, and was a special link identifying the individual with a particular place and creature.
Select older people who have passed through all the stages of initiation. Their power is based on their knowledge of the ceremonies and the law. Through them the rule of law in Aboriginal life is Absolute.
- Give inspiration and advice.
- Arrange marriages.
- Organise training, initiations and ceremonies.
Reciprocity and Relatedness
Reciprocity - The basis for traditional hunting and gathering economy.
Relatedness - people to the environment.
Country is Essential
People relied on the land for their physical and economic survival; it provided them with the food they ate, the shelter they needed and the resources for food preparation, hunting, artistic activities…
Relationship with country involved sacred rights, obligations and duties related to particular sites that were inherited from a parent, conception and birth sites.
Business Responsibility - Environmental Sustainabilty
Biodiversity - the variety of species, populations, habitats and ecosystems.
Ecological integrity - general health and resilience of natural life-support systems (assimilate wastes, withstand climate change/ozone depletion).
Natural capital - stock of productive soil, fresh water, forests, clean air, ocean and other renewable resources that underpin the survival, health and prosperity of human communities.
Is about relationships of power.
Racial prejudice - making a prejudgement about others without sufficient information, it is fed by our ethnocentrism and is reliant upon stereotypes or ideologies that convey value-laden meanings.
Racial discrimination - actions or behaviours that disadvantage people based on their real or perceived membership of a racial or ethnic group (common in employment, housing, education and law).
Racism as ideology - the expression of social myths about groups defined by the dominant group of society as ‘Other’.
Institutional racism a pattern of distribution of social goods, including power, which regularly and systematically advantages some ethnic and racial groups whilst disadvantaging others (implemented by governments, media, educational institutions, health and housing, law and welfare agencies.)
The now discredited international doctrine of law, which stated that territory inhabited by people who do not have, according to European standards, a recognised social, political or economic system was considered ‘land belonging to no-one’.
Terra Nullius Treatment
Aboriginal sovereignty was ignored and no treaties negotiating existing rights were formed.
Aboriginal people were declared ‘British citizens’ subject to the laws of the crown (without the rights citizenship normally held including the right to give evidence in a court of law).
Colonial Period Impact
Loss of land as a spiritual base.
Loss of land as an economic base and provider of food and medicinal resources.
Massive loss of life (estimated 1.5 million in 1788 to 150,000 by 1850).
Forced breakdown in social and cultural structures.
Imposed identity and inferior status.
Loss of mobility.
Removal of children from their families.
Political and legal powerlessness
Aborigines Protection Acts 1909
Constituted acts of institutionalised racism.
Acts were implemented by members of the Aboriginal Protection Board, enforced by the police force.
As Protectors, they had increasing power of control over employment, freedom of movement and access to medical services.
Forced removal of groups to reserves/missions.
100,000 children over five generations.
Taken by people in authority - missionaries, priests, nuns, police, court officials...
Moved to Government or church-run dormitory style institutions.
Trained for a life of servitude, small number were adopted/fostered to non-Aboriginal families.
Stolen Generations Conditions
Housed in poor conditions and fed inadequate diets.
Discouraged from having contact with members of their family.
Told their parents were dead or did not want them.
Taught to reject their Aboriginality and forbidden to speak their language.
Subject to harsh regimes and excessive physical punishment.
At high risk of sexual abuse (1 in 5)
Legacies of Seperation
Low self esteem and depression.
Low educational achievement.
Unemployment and poverty.
Repeated contact with the criminal justice system
Aboriginal people were to be absorbed into Australian society.
Health, education and homes were improved (believed to help Aborigines fit into society).
Impacts of Assimilation (Government Policies)
Poor educational outcomes.
Poor health and mental health.
High rates of incarceration.
Forced to live a sedentary lifestyle (loss of land and right of freedom of movement).
Forced to undergo dietary changes from a nutritional diet of bush foods to rations of low protein, high carbohydrates and sugar, resulting in the prevalence of diabetes.
Subjected to living in poor and overcrowded housing, lacking in adequate sanitation and water supplies.
Subjected to the forced removal of many of their children resulting in high psychological despair, grief, and low self-esteem and identity problems.
Confronted with the continued breakdown of traditional Aboriginal social and cultural structures through the removal of children, laws forbidding language and cultural maintenance, and the loss of Elders and community members through diseases of poverty and despair..
Economically marginalised due to poor education and employment and any wages earned being controlled by the Board.
Marginalisation from education due to discriminatory laws restricting access.
Health and Wellbeing Issues
More likely to die before they are old.
Higher age-standardised death rate.
Higher infant mortality rates.
Higher maternal mortality rates.
More likely to suffer from psychological distress.
Twice as likely to be hospitalised for mental or behavioural disorders.
They were progressively subject to policies of control and segregation and denied access to quality education.
Employment was subject to government approval and generally restricted to the rural industry and domestic servitude.
Equal Wages Awarded (late 1960's)
Downturn in rural economy.
Rise in unemployment and movement towards the fringes of urban centres in search for work.
Employment was hard to obtain and generally required a higher level of education and skills than many Aboriginals possessed.
Poverty became entrenched and reliance on welfare grew.
Community Development Employment Program (1977)
Began as an Indigenous 'work for the dole' program.
Positive - seen as a way for Indigenous communities to develop culturally specific work and enterprise opportunities, increase self-confidence of participants and provide training and work experience.
Negatives - it was seen as exploitation of Indigenous labour, facilitating under-employment and preparing Indigenous people for low skilled jobs, thereby perpetuating poverty outcomes.
CDEP Reform (2007)
Reformed and ceased operating in locations with “established economies”, continuing only in remote areas with very limited employment opportunities. CDEP programs now focus on preparing participants for mainstream work.
Indigenous Employment Program
Closing the Gap
Projects which fund specific employment, training or mentoring projects.
Australian Employment Covenant that aims to provide jobs for 50,000 Indigenous people.
The rights held to be claimable by any living person, irrespective of race, status, etc,.
UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007)
Took over 20 years to negotiate by Indigenous people, governments and human rights experts.
Indigenous people were involved in drafting.
Recognition that Indigenous peoples are entitled to all human rights as a collective.
Standards to ensure the survival, dignity and well-being of Indigenous people.
(Countries refused to sign including Aus, NZ, USA and Canada - Aus signed April 2009).