Indigenous Australians and Familial Belonging

Topics: Indigenous Australians, Cultural assimilation, Policy Pages: 13 (2650 words) Published: December 13, 2012
“…the ways in which the concept of belonging is represented…”


A sense of belonging is felt where there is the perception of acceptance and understanding without compromise, conditions or limitations.

Key Ideas

← Belonging is about how the individual experiences their difference. ← Only in the context of acceptance can a person feel they belong. ← The individual is the only person who can decide whether or not he/or she belongs. ← What promotes belonging is a willingness to be accepting of others. ← People are threatened by what is different – the unknown, the other. ← Differences define boundaries.

Dichotomies at work
belonging/not belonging
accepted/not accepted
seeking to belong/reluctance to assimilate
rejecting difference/accepting difference
social barriers to belonging/personal barriers to belonging
belonging as a limitation/belonging as an extension or addition


|Nan Dear |Gladys |Dolly | |Matriarch of the family, in her 60s |Nan’s daughter, Dolly’s mother, in her 40s |Daughter, shielded from the truth by Gladys and Nan until her own trauma | |Nan’s focus is on accepting her lot and surviving. Her approach to |Gladys reveres the young queen and ideas of royalty. She’s excited at the |throws her into adulthood | |objects is whether or not they are useful to her in keeping house, |Queen’s visit and wants just to get a look at her. |Proud of her Aboriginality but aware of the differences in society; is | |feeding her family, surviving… |Gladys lives with her dreams that reflect acceptance into white society. She’s|angered by them. | |While Gladys and Dolly have their dreams, Nan’s lives in the present, |a smart woman, who can answer all the Pick-A-Box questions better than the |Irritated by her mother’s aspirations to white society for her. Has her own| |making do, accepting the way things are. “What good is it if I get het |contestants, but knows that a black contestant would never be accepted on TV. |dreams. | |up? My job is to get food on the table –“ |All her dreams for acceptance and a better life are now tied in with Dolly. |Spiritually connected to place and family, she’s unwilling to give these up| |Nan rejects the monarchy. She says, “She’s not my queen.” She’s scornful|Gladys hopes Dolly will lead a European life – with an education, a good job |for Errol. | |of Gladys’ reverence for the young queen. “One loyal subject in the |in an office and a nice white boy in the form of Errol. | | |family is enough.” |Gladys represents passive Aboriginal discontent. She wants to be part of white| | |Nan represents ‘the old ways’. She is the voice for traditional |society and will not act against it to bring change for her people. | | |Aboriginal customs and beliefs. | | |...
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