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Australian aborigines

 
 
Equus
 
Reply Tue 7 Jun, 2005 12:06 pm
Did white settlers in Australia have battles/conflicts with aborigines in the same way that there were battles between white settlers and natives in the Americas? I don't recall hearing of any.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 1,535 • Replies: 15
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Charli
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Jun, 2005 09:26 pm
"Rabbit-Proof Fence"
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Euler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Jun, 2005 05:49 am
I've spent my childhood in aust... so i wanna give you what i heard from the aborigines.. the whites had killed many of them when they wanna get their land... then they took away newborn babies of the aborigines so they cannot be brought up by their aborigines family and the culture of the aborigines will fade away as time passes by... and some of the kids had been educated without the history of their ancestors and most them had not been reli educated so they cannot get a job when they grew up and become a alcoholic..... that's part of wut i heard...
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patiodog
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Jun, 2005 08:15 am
Just winging it here from the little that I've read and even less that I've retained -- it's seemed to me that there wasn't the same level of organized interaction in Australia (either antagonistic or, in rare instances, cooperative) as there was in the Americas.*

There definitely have been systematic campaigns to eliminate or forcibly assimilate aboriginal groups in Australia, though.






* Not everywhere in the Americas was there an epic struggle, however. Large, organized nations represented groups that Europeans understood and could interact with. Some more modest (and possibly less warlike) groups operated on small communal scales more akin to what we expect to find in regions like the Amazon or Papua New Guinea, and virtually disappeared with a whimper and not with a bang (largely from disease, I suspect). The Paiute and Mi-Wuk peoples of California, for instance, had little if any large-scale political structure, though certainly they were interconnected up and down the region through trade. Their linguistic diversity was (apparently, dim recesses of memory here) testament to this. A walk of 10 or 20 miles away from one group might put you amidst another group with a distinctly different dialect, if not a different language altogether. This is analogous to the linguistic diversity of PNG, where there are thousands of native languages in a very small geographical region. Large, organized peoples like the Iroquois, the Sioux, the Cherokee kind of dominate the North American conception of what native peoples were like, but they aren't necessarily representative. The groups that were (to my mind, anyway) more like aboriginal Australians are rarely (if ever) spoken of.


Note: I don't know what I'm talking about here....
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pragmatic
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Jun, 2005 10:27 pm
From the legal theory point of view of POSTCOLONIALISM, which I think is fascinating when it explains the plight of aborigines, they say that Australia continues to be a colonised country, despite the leaving of britain, the establishment of our own constitution etc - because power over australia never reverted back to the aborigines, but rather were kept with those who grew up under european power - thus continuing to exert such power over and to the detriment of aboriginals.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Jun, 2005 11:36 pm
The short answer is no, there was never organized warfare between the aboriginal inhabitants and the Europeans as there was in North America.
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dlowan
 
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Reply Thu 16 Jun, 2005 11:36 pm
My sense is that there were a few battles - but nothing like the fierce resistance of the better armed, and often far more warlike, native Americans. And - I think there was a much larger population of indigenous people in the Americas - MUCH larger. The Maoris in New Zealand gave the invaders a damn fine run for their money, though.

I suspect there would have been numbers of small skirmishes, though.

There is an ongoing fierce debate in Australian history about the levels of both resistance and of slaughter - and I am no expert.


The genocide thing is also hotly debated.

The ruling assumption by the time such policies as removing half-caste kids from Aboriginal parents were nightmared up was that the Aboriginal people were a dying race - there was a kind of "our job is to ease their passing and save whom we can and assimilate them" - ie that the kids with some white genes would be raised as whits, and gradually disappear into the white race, while their black cousins died away.

{Here is a piece of living history, encapsulating the attitudes of the time for you:

My mum was born in 1920, on a large sheep station in central New South wales - she was born into what we call "the squattocracy" - ie the rural land-rich (and often money rich) gentry. Such properties often had populations of Aboriginal people living there - to whom they provided basic rations and medical care, and who worked on the properties - as cheap labour. The whites doubtless saw themselves as benevolent saviours of the blacks. I have photos of my intensely blonde mum and her four siblings standing outside an aboriginal humpy with her dad, the Aboriginal dad, and a passel of little black kids - all the kids, black and white, holding hands and clearly interrupted in play.

The twenties and thirties, when she grew up, were the apogee (or nadir, as I would call it) of the popularity of eugenics in western thought (its effects seen most clearly - and best remembered and reported - in Nazi Germany. Most of our countries have happily forgotten the influence of these ideas in their own recent history!)

Anyhoo, my mum clearly imbibed these ideas more or less with her mother's milk, for she, a benign and decent person, once said to me when I was little, and asking about Aboriginal people (I was reading about them in "We of the Never Never" and "Little Black Princess" at the time) in absolute seriousness and with no malign intent, that a really good thing about them was that, unlike with Africans and hence American Negroes, as they intermingled with whites, they became steadily whiter - you never got black "throwbacks". Even as a very weelowan indeed, I was rocked by that one.}

A complicating factor was that some semi-white kids were rejected by their Aboriginal kin and led a miserable life. Here, too, debate rages. Some see the policy as to rip the kids off willy nilly - others experienced their work as rescue of abused kids.

The truth? Damned if I know. I suspect there are aspects of truth in both views and complex and varying motives.


The EFFECT was often horriffic. Some kids were raised in genuinely caring places - many were subject to both the abuses sadly common in institutional care of the times to both black and white kids - with the extra horror that sometimes Aboriginal kids were forced to stop practicing their religion, culture, language etc (as was also common in stolen native American and Canadian kids - christian missions often ran these places and enforced their religious and moral vales on the kids) - and were subject to racist abuse.

Some were probably genuinely rescued from horrible circumstances.

Many kids were told their parents had died, or did not want them. Others, as I understand it, had parents who actually felt the education the kids would receive was a great thing, and they willingly allowed the kids to go away - and visited them.


The traumatic effects of the removal and severing of attachment relationships and cultural identity and knowledge plus whatever abuse occurred in the institutions racks Aboriginal society still and contributes to the terrible violence, addiction, poor parenting etc that can be found in the the Aboriginal community.


I doubt that it is the only factor - but it is up there.

I will try to find you some links - but, be aware that it is currently an intensely politicalized and ideologically driven area of study right now - so most folk writing about it have an agendum.

Google "Australian history wars" and you will get an idea!

I am not well read in the area - so I have no real way of separating out the more reliable and scholarly sites. Anyhoo, the fireworks are IN academe - so 'tis caveat emptor.

A dynamic time in history, though - which has well and truly affected the political sphere as people seize on interpretations of research that support their ideological agenda.
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goodfielder
 
  1  
Reply Fri 17 Jun, 2005 03:21 am
There were conflicts but they were more a clash of cultures and misunderstandings than anything else.

When the British colonised Australia in 1788 they disregarded their own laws to claim that this continent was "uninhabited" (in the sense of having an identifiable group to treaty with unlike the situation in New Zealand) but this was done for political reasons.

The British needed to claim what had been identified as "New Holland" before the Dutch got to it (and the French of course). Captain Cook asserted that Australia was in fact "terra nullius" (meaning no need to negotiate with those already there) when it wasn't.

In 1788 when the First Fleet arrived under Governor Phillip there were orders from the British Government and from Phillip himself that the local indigenous people were now "British subjects" and therefore entitled to the King's protection.

That didn't stop conflict. Whereas the European settlers came from a tradition of understanding and valuing private ownership of land and property (wealth comes from land) the indigenous people in Australia had no concept of individual ownership. This wasn't due to some sort of dewy-eyed communalism. It was quite practical. They didn't have factories and machines so whatever was made (eg spears, woomeras) had to be shared because resources and means of production had to be shared to ensure the group's survival. So when the Europeans put cattle on lands previous inhabited by indigenous people they sort of assumed they were for everyone and took them. Bingo - clash of cultures.

There were sporadic settler-indigenous battles all over Australia for many years and there were atrocities committed on both sides but there was no Australian equivalent of the wars with Maori in New Zealand or the continuing wars with First Nations people in the US.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 17 Jun, 2005 03:35 am
First Nations is a Canadian term. Many, if not most, citizens of the United States will not automatically recognize the term.
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goodfielder
 
  1  
Reply Fri 17 Jun, 2005 04:25 am
I wasn't aware - thanks Set - then that should read "American Indians" I think - I hope.
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Charli
 
  1  
Reply Fri 17 Jun, 2005 08:39 pm
Native Americans
"For what it's worth," sociologists (among others) refer to American Indians as "Native Americans." I think that's the politically correct terminology now. Smile Smile Smile [/color]

http://www.ac.wwu.edu/~stephan/Animation/chaplin.movie.gif
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 17 Jun, 2005 09:08 pm
I find the term native American unacceptable because it perpetuates the unrealistic proposition that the non-Amerindian population should "go back where they came from," not being native. I am native. I was born on this continent.

I find Amerindian to be an acceptable term, but am most likely just to use the term aboriginal inhabitants, because it is accurately descriptive, and isn't freighted with all of the oftentimes hysterical political baggage.

GF, American Indian is acceptable--if someone objects, they're being political. I actually prefer the Canadian locution First Nations as it recognizes the reality of a native population descended from Europeans. I just mentioned what i did because many and perhaps most Americans would react to the usaged with "huh?"
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Charli
 
  1  
Reply Fri 17 Jun, 2005 09:59 pm
Unites States Government
"Native American" is the official United States Government designation on all of their documents used in describing - asking about or necessitating a designation of - this race. Given this Government's penchant for paperwork, that's probably a few quadrillion documents!

What's a sociologist to do? "One can't argue with the Government." (More smileys and more "Dancing Charlies"!)
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Mirriwinni
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Jul, 2005 01:13 am
patiodog wrote:


Note: I don't know what I'm talking about here....


You got that bit right, a least.
Certainly there was conflict when hunting grounds were taken over for farming by white settlers, and cattle and sheep proved to be far easier to spear, and no doubt a lot tastier, than kangaroos.
But there was no one Aboriginal race, rather a vast number of tribes with hundreds of different languages and customs.
Frontier justice was meted out by settlers without a doubt when theft or vandalism occured, but it was applied to whites and to chinese in just the same fashion.
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Jul, 2005 04:01 am
Huh?????
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patiodog
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Jul, 2005 10:06 am
Why, white and Chinese babies were taken from their families to be reprogrammed, of course...
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