Aboriginal Histories and Aboriginal Perspectives Essay

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Aboriginal Histories and Aboriginal Perspectives Essay QUOTE:
“I would not hesitate for one moment to separate any half-caste from its Aboriginal mother, no matter frantic her momentary grief might be at the time. They soon forget their offspring.”
C.F. Gale, Chief Protector of Aborigines in Western Australia, 1909, quoted in Tatz, C. (1999), Genocide in Australia. Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Research Discussion Paper number 8, Canberra: AIATIS. http://www.aiatsis.gov.au/research/docs/dp/DP08.pdf

“I would not hesitate for one moment to separate any half-caste from its Aboriginal mother, no matter frantic her momentary grief might be at the time. They soon forget their offspring.”

These were the closing remarks of James Isdell, Travelling Protector, in a paragraph titled "Half-castes". He was writing a report to The Chief Protector of Aborigines, C.F. Gale, and the letter was included in Gale's Western Australia "Report" for 1909. This section of the report is concerned with the location and paternity of "half-castes", and the removal of these children from their mothers. Isdell describes the "harrowing grief of the mothers" but dismisses it on account of the "open indecency and immorality ... and vile conversations ... which these young children see, listen to, and repeat" (p. 9). He also explains that it is the responsibility of the State to rescue the children: "The half-caste is intellectually above the aborigine, and it is the duty of the State that they be given a chance to lead a better life than their mothers" (p. 9).
Throughout the 20-page document, Indigenous Australians are referred to as either "native full-bloods" or "half-castes" - the former considered inferior because of the absence of European paternity. The overwhelming tone of the report infers that the "whites" should tolerate the "full-bloods" while their numbers diminish, and foster the "civilising" of the "half-castes".

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