Aboriginal people were the “First Nations” or original Australians inhabiting the country wholly, while the Torres Strait Islanders preferred the islands now referenced as Torres Strait Islands that were at that time centred in Papua New Guinea and the country.
There were nearly 1000 nations or clans throughout the continent that offered individual cultures, languages, and distinct belief systems. Today, these indigenous people comprise merely 3% of tens of millions in the overall population. Why?
Colonisation was responsible for the devastation of these communities. The results were exceptional trauma, dispossession, extreme quantities of children stolen from their families placed in institutions or non-Indigenous homes to perform labour, laws enacted on only these groups with arrests and prison time imposed with no justification.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people weren’t aware that the impact of the battle they were enduring would forever change their lives and those of the future generations just from that fateful day when the British set foot on their land. That can be tough for non-Indigenous people to understand, but the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s lives have a deep core set specifically around kinship, their traditions, cultural beliefs, and their intense spirituality.
Passing these values from generation to generation is extremely important to the people. The traumatic events of their history have left empty places in family trees and losses from which they can never recover. And that’s merely one devastating effect.
Groups like Together Australians attempt to bring recognition to the atrocities suffered by the Indigenous communities, and the government claims to be working towards “reconciliation.” When people have a better understanding of the history since the invasion in 1788, there is more empathy and a stronger desire to improve relations.
White Australia Policies
The White Australia policies developed as colonisation progressed throughout 1700 through the 1900s by the British parliament. These meant to “encourage” Indigenous people to transform their beliefs and cultural traditions to reflect those of white people. When first landing in 1788, the British attempts were to decide how to proceed with settlement plans with the main objective being to eradicate the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people.
Their reference to these communities’ people was as “natives,” and their land was quickly seized. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders did not take stand down for dispossession; they fought. Still, it was faced with “Martial Law,” resulting in tens of thousands of families’ deaths up through the year 1837. The families did put up a diligent fight killing thousands of British in their crossfire.
Those who were able to survive the battles were displaced and put in “reserves” under abhorrent conditions. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders did not have recognition as “people” losing all civility like their citizenship rendered incapable, banned ineligibility from legally offering court testimony, military services, or voting privileges.
Worst of all, the families deemed incapable and unfit by “Western Supremacy” for child rearing having many biological children stolen from them with placement in institutions or with white families. The government abolished the White Australian Policy but not until 1972. Until that point, the government forced the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to follow all the same customs, guidelines, beliefs as the white Australians. These communities today argue that the government still removes their children through the welfare system at excessive rates and with little reason compared to white children.
The government did not acknowledge any ill treatment of these groups until roughly 1992. But that didn’t mean things began to improve by any significant margin within that period. There were supposed to be improvements like being able to reclaim land or hold property. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of mistreatments among these people. Click to see how life is today.
How Is History Impacting Treatment Today
School children today are primarily deprived of this component of their Australian history. Colonisation and the resultant devastation for specific groups of people, their struggles, evolving trauma, and loss doesn’t find its way into historical schoolbooks. The Indigenous people will continue to be victims as long as no one acknowledges the true Australian history; how the country actually came to be, the land and children stolen, people massacred.
Quoting history records…”the structure of the hierarchy in the history records (established, of course, by Western colonists) shows language indicating that the Europeans were “civilised “”superior.” At the same time, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders were “savages,” “primitives,” and “dying breeds.” “Half-Caste is another derogatory term used for someone identifying with Indigenous blood. These offensive descriptors still serve as tools despite legislation’s claim to bringing equality to these groups of people.”
Only one side of what happened in the historical story is up for retelling and its missing much accuracy. Everyone needs to understand the facts of history as they occurred, so each person can make their own determination as to what’s right and what’s wrong.
In reality of the situation, to be true “legacy of their dispossession is (causing) ongoing socio-economic disadvantage and racial discrimination within what is a dominant non-indigenous culture” pretty much sums it up. These communities still don’t have equal land access, health/welfare benefits, or educational privileges despite the government’s claims.
The Indigenous people continue to have impacts from their history via poor healthcare, low income or unemployment, poor educational offerings, unacceptable housing, and a complete lack of vital servicing. Things are getting better for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. . .Really? Has anyone asked them?
Reconciliation sounds genuinely nice. It sounds nice when you present it in a public forum for the world as a whole to look at you as a country attempting to make amends for the atrocities of your past. But does that mean you will actually put those sentiments into action? Find out if the programs are working at https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/oct/30/australian-government-knows-very-little-about-whether-money-spent-on-aboriginal-programs-works/.
Many of these Indigenous communities are enduring unresolved traumas to this day, grief, contending with marginalisation, and exceptional loss with children stolen from them. Kinship and the family structure for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were (are) sacred, offering more cultural benefits from the (then) European experience could probably fathom.
More people of authority need to educate themselves on what is an Indigenous culture, what is their belief system, spirituality, beliefs. Who are these people, yes people? For what do they stand? And bring respect back to these communities that are more than deserving.
Why did they lose that in the beginning?