What Is Community and Why Do We Need It?

Topics: Indigenous Australians, Indigenous peoples, Australia Pages: 5 (1657 words) Published: April 15, 2011
The term community is not as easy to define as one would think. Community can refer to many things, depending on the context in which it is talked about. For instance, Community may refer to the territorial or geographical notion of community for example, neighbourhood, town or city. But also, Community can also refer to the qualities human interaction and social ties that draw people together. (Taylor, Wilkinson, Cheers, 2008). But the three simplest ways to define the word Community are through the words of Place- geographic with a local society and structures and networks, Interest–consistent interactions around a common theme (political , economic, spiritual, cultural), Social system -a structural organisation of the interaction of people and organisations that evolve over time. (Weatherill, 2010).

Although many definitions of the term community refer to the geographical area, community are also drawn from the social interactions that humans may have with others which all ties into the fundamentals of community life. Communities don’t always see eye to eye, they don’t always have the same ideas as the rest of the community, they don’t always have the right answers to face these issues either and there will always be tension between people amongst the community. In the context f this essay, the term community will be underlined amongst the indigenous (Aboriginal and Torre strait Islanders) community and the challenges that they face amongst the wider Australian Community. There are many Indigenous communities that are coexisting within the Australian community, although we may not be aware of this, but we play a significant role in the shaping of their future communities as well as our future. Within society, Indigenous Communities in Australians face many issues that conflict with their communities. These factors that contribute to the ever arising problems and challenges include a large combination of the following: Poor or Unequal Living Conditions- which result in Infant Mortality, eye and ear infections, Diseases related to drug and Alcohol abuse, malnutrition, asthma and sexually transmitted infections (STI’s). Other factors also involve in Family violence- whether it is physical or verbal abuse, Lack of rights (Human and Land), a low standard of education amongst Indigenous youth which can result to a large level of unemployment. Then there is Social Justice, Social Justice basically means giving Indigenous Australians the same social and living standards as non Indigenous Australians. It can also mean the recognising of the distinctive rights in which Indigenous Australians hold as the original people of this land in which we call home. These rights include: The right to a distinct status and culture, which helps maintain and strengthen the identity and spiritual and cultural practices of Indigenous communities; The right to self-determination, which is a process where Indigenous communities take control of their future and decide how they will address the issues facing them and The right to land, which provides the spiritual and cultural basis of Indigenous communities. (Calma, 2005). According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there were 483,994 Indigenous people living in Australia at 30th June 2004. The largest population was in New South Wales; with a total Indigenous population of 141,533, then Queensland followed closely with a total of 134,013, followed by Western Australia with an Indigenous population of 69,655 then the Northern Territory with a total of 59,508 indigenous Australians. According to the ABS the Northern Territory has the highest proportion of indigenous peoples living amongst its population, there was approximately 30 percent and Victoria had the lowest at just 0.65 percent. Although this may come to a shock to most people, but the majority of Indigenous people live in cities and towns but they are more widely dispersed across Australian than that of the non-Indigenous...
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