Indigenous Australians Essay
Colonisation has impacted profoundly on indigenous communities worldwide and this essays examines and details some of those impacts. Initially, the concept of colonisation will be explained, including the forces that were driving the colonisation and the usual ways it was achieved. At a general level, the ideologies underpinning the colonisers’ interactions with indigenous peoples will also be described. A comparison will then be made between the experiences of colonisation for Aboriginal peoples of Australia and the experiences of colonisation for the Torres Strait Islander peoples. In particular, the issue of dispossession from land and/or culture will be analysed, as well as the effect of Christianity. As a result, it will be argued that Christianity was generally an oppressive force for Aboriginal peoples, whereas for Torres Strait Islanders, Christianity was easily integrated with traditional beliefs. My introduction
Colonisation has profoundly impacted the indigenous people of countries all around the world, and although the experiences differ locally, it has in most instances caused them much suffering. This essay will examine some of the impacts of colonisation on the indigenous communities. The concept of colonisation will firstly be explained, and then this essay will discuss who was doing the colonising, when this was happening, why they were doing this, and the usual ways that colonisation was achieved. The underlying ideologies of colonisation will be examined, and how these ideologies then informed the interactions between non-indigenous and indigenous peoples. This essay will then compare the effects of colonisation on the Aboriginal peoples of Australia and the Torres Strait Islander peoples. The disposession of land, sovergnty and culture will be examined, and the effects of the terra nullius claim of mainland Australia in comparison to the annexation of the Torres Strait Islanders. In particular, the effect of Christianity will be examined and how and why it was implemented differently and consequentially with contrasted results. It will be argued that Christianity was generally an oppressive force for Aboriginal peoples, wheras for Torres Strait Islanders Christianity was easily integrated with traditional beliefs.
Part 1 Most indigenous peoples worldwide have suffered as a result of colonisation, although at a local level experiences will differ. At a general level, how the ideologies underpinning colonialism have informed interactions between non-indigenous and indigenous peoples. What is colonisation?
Who was doing the colonisation? Britain france ntetherlands spain ds etc When were they doing this?
Why were they doing it? The acquisition of wealth and power land. What laws/understandings prevailed? Colonisation could occur as a result of claiming unoccupied land or Wars/treaties. How did the idea of colonisation then influences the interaction with indigenous peoples. How the ideologies underpinning colonialism have informed interactions between non-indigenous and indigenous peoples. Scientific racism, social Darwinism. Classic liberalism. Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution which was strictly about biology was applied by Herbert spencer and others to try to explain society. This social Darwinism is based on the ideology that there is hierarchy of races. Another term for this ideology is scientific racism. Classic liberalism is all about freedom for the individual, freedom to persue self interest. Adam Smith in the 1850’s thinking that if people are allowed to peruse self interest then society will collectively benefit. Malthus1798 – don’t bother helping the poor as it is economically pointless, so if they starve to death it’s their own fault. Lasiez fair market – leave it alone – no government interference. Moral justifications for accumulation of wealth. Including colonisation. Class system. James Cook.
Archibald Meston 1851-1924 – newspaper editor/writer – lived with aboriginal communities and learnt their languages and customs. Rascist – exotic others
– although he wants good for indigenous peoples. The architect of the aboriginals protection and prohibition of the sale of opium act 1897 qld. Right to remove aboriginal peoples to reserves. In effect till 1970’s. employment, wages, – clear guidelines.
What were the usual consequences of colonisation? Eg dispossession of land.
Compare the effects of colonisation of Australia’s two Indigenous groupings: Australian Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples. At a specific level, your argued position as to whether the effects of colonisation were similar or different on the two groupings: Australian Aboriginal people; Torres Strait Islander peoples. Aboriginal experience
Form – terra nullius
Torres strait Islander experience
Dispossession of sovereignty but not land
Christianity – integrated – Coming of the light – as a driving influence of colonisation
Some general similarities and differences
Aboriginal experience:Torres Strait Islander experience: -previously isolatedactive os trade/integration
Soon outnumberedoutnumbered by the Europeans
Dispossession of land particularly the east coastnot dispossessed of land, dis of sovereignty Loss of life 80%loss of life 50%
Disposession of cultureintegration of culture
The 1897 actthe 1897 act (after 1904)
Christianity as dominantintegrated Christianity
Slave labour/sexual abuse
Dispossession from their land – took away ability to support themselves through traditional means as kangaroos were driven away by colonisers. Began to hunt introduced invading animals including sheep and cattle. Frontier video.1830-1860 British subjects and therefore must not be shot – official policy…..1830
Slavery, child and adult – the 1897 act did not regulate or condemn child slavery. Something like slavery? Shirley Robinson 2008North melboure Victoria, Australian Schorlary Publishing. Sovereignty in the forms of a treaty or self governance are yet to be reached for Aboriginal Australians. Telling the truth about Aboriginal history Bain Attwood 2005 nsw Allen and Unwin Massacres – during the first 50 years of settlement.
Terra nullius reference – aboriginal sovereighty ferelctions on race, state and nation henry Reynolds 1996 allen and unwin nsw court demolished terra nullius claim but not in regards to sovereignty WHEN THE FIRST Christian missionary appointed to work amongAustralian Aborigines arrived in Sydney in 1821, thirty-three yearsof white settlement had already elapsed – one blood john harris 1990 Albatross Books Ply Ltd
In 1819, two years before the first missionary arrived, theRev. Samuel Marsden, Senior Chaplain of New South Wales, hadconcluded that the Aboriginal people were as yet beyond the powerof Christ to save: The Aborigines are the most degraded of the human race. . . thetime is not yet arrived for them to receive the great blessings ofcivilisation and the knowledge of Christianity. 2
“While the Islanders had a thorough appreciation of their own internal government, they were not sufficiently able to appreciate European methods of trading and European money to protect themselves in business dealings, and as a consequence in 1904 the provisions of the Aboriginal Protection Act were extended to them.”
“By the 1920s and 1930s most Torres Strait Islanders resident in Torres Strait had their lives increasingly circumscribed under the Act. They were considered “a race apart” who would gain nothing by participation in Australian life. Torres Strait Islanders were not allowed to live on Thursday Island prior to 1946 and Islander boat crew members had to sleep aboard while anchored there. Torres Strait Islands were made native reserves and were out of bounds to all but a few officials, clerics and other authorised persons. Crews of trochus vessels that came south to North Queensland ports were not allowed to accept work on shore or make their home there.” (http://queenslandhistory.blogspot.com.au/2011/03/anomaly-in-torres-strait-living-under.html) “The first Torres Strait Islander to settle permanently in the Cairns district arrived in 1905, and by the late 1930s over seventy Torres Strait Islanders were living there. The Act did not apply to any of the other Torres Strait Islanders in Cairns. They were free to sit where they liked in the cinemas, unlike Aborigines who had to sit in the front. They were able to drink in hotels and bars with their favourite watering holes being the old Exchange, Royal and National Hotels; they could and did buy property, lived where they liked, and did not ask nor receive permission from the Protector of Aboriginals in gaining employment and managing their pay packets.”
Christianity for Torres Strait Islanders was introduced by Pacific Islanders were accepting of the Torres Strait Islanders beliefs and integrated them into Christianity. This enabled Torres Strait Islanders to embrace Christianity without losing their language or culture. Christianity underlying belief is that one must choose God for himself, not be forced to choose his ways as the missionaries enforced with Aboriginal people. Colonisation is theft, in direct opposition to one of the ten commandments of Christianity.
“Every year on 1 July Torres Strait Islanders celebrate the “Coming of Light” or arrival of Christianity on Erub (Darnley) Island, Thursday Island, in Cairns and Townsville, remembering 1 July 1871 when the missionaries from the London Missionary Society arrived.
Fred Gela, Mayor of the Torres Strait Island Regional Council, explains : “On July 1, 1871 the Torres Strait changed forever. On that day, Dabad, one of the tribal elders of Erub Island, met the missionaries at Kemus Bech, where he denied his tribal laws and accepted the good news of salvation.”
“For many people globally, the coming of Christianity meant the end of traditional beliefs. This was not the case in the Torres Strait. Christianity was embraced and the light of God was welcomed into our everyday lives with our culture informing and playing a huge role in shaping our understanding.” http://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/spirituality/aboriginal-christians-christianity The way in which Chirsitanity was implemented for Aborigianl Australians was oppressive compared to the way it was implemented for Torres Stria Islander peoples.
they failed to distinguish properly between the gospel and what they called’civilisation’, European culture
Dr John Harris, author of One Blood, a landmark study into 200 years of Aboriginal encounter with Christianity, discusses the impact of European missionaries on Aboriginal Culture