A History of Oppression: the Mistreatment of Australian Aboriginals

Topics: Indigenous Australians, Australia, Indigenous peoples Pages: 5 (1541 words) Published: June 19, 2013
Mistreatment of Australian Aboriginals
Cases of oppression are very much present within our world’s history, and even in most societies today. Being rich in history, Australia is a large example of oppression in our world. Not only can we find koala bears and kangaroos in the continent of Australia, but also the world’s oldest existing culture of aboriginal people (Aboriginal Australia - EmbraceAustralia.com). For nearly 50,000 years, Australia has served as home to these ancient indigenous people (Aboriginal Australia – EmbraceAustralia.com). Australia’s natives have been victims to oppression in many ways and for various reasons for nearly 200 years. They’re land had been taken over by European settlers, and later on they faced more oppression when attempts to assimilate Indigenous people into white society were made.

For over a century, Australia’s aborigines have been faced with many racist prejudices and several severe cases of oppression. Issues amongst the indigenous people began in the late 1700’s, shortly after the arrival of European settlers. These new arrivals brought many changes to the native’s daily lives (Aboriginal Australia – EmbraceAustralia.com). The Aboriginals had to deal with intruders of whom they had no prior knowledge of, and the vastly different societies and cultures of these two groups of people. As European colonization began to settle down, Australia’s aboriginals were seen as lower class and savage beings by the “superior” Europeans (Aboriginals Rights – EmbraceAustralia.com). By the mid 1800’s, the Australian Government began to fear for the future of children Aborigines and issued the “Forced Assimilation Policy” in 1869 (Aboriginal Rights – EmbraceAustralia.com). It was not until the 1970’s that the Policy of Assimilation ended (Aboriginal Rights – EmbraceAustralia.com). Although aboriginal rights have greatly evolved into the present, Australia’s natives still battle against many prejudices and acts of racism even in today’s society. These indigenous people are often labeled by others to be “wide-nosed and dark-skinned” and live their ancient tribal lifestyles filled with crime, violence and drinking. In addition, numerous people still believe in false Aboriginal stereotypes. For example, aboriginals are problematic, un-educated people who follow no religion, suffer from poor diets and are given too much welfare, all of which are not necessarily true (Stereotypes about Aboriginal Australians – Creativespirits.info). This issue is a very important part of Australian history. As we look deeper into the breakdown of Aboriginal mistreatment, many contributing factors can be found. The root of this issue can be traced back to the white settlement. With the arrival of the Europeans, Aboriginals were immediately faced with many problems. The Europeans brought along many new diseases and illnesses to which the Aboriginals had no immunity. Epidemics created by the smallpox and even the common cold instantly killed nearly half of the Aboriginal population, ultimately, creating a barrier between the indigenous people and the Europeans (History of Australia – EmbraceAustralia.com). This immediately put the Aborigines in an unfortunate position where they were now much weaker, and therefore deemed inferior to the settlers. Naturally, white settlers began asking the Indigenous people for their labour in exchange for goods, and claiming Aboriginal land for “economic purposes” (The Social, Cultural and Historical Context of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians). The Aboriginal population, now considerably much smaller, had difficulty when proving ownership and power over their homeland. European settlers were now stronger and could claim territories easily. This contributed not only to the expansion of the European settlers and to the growth of their power, but also to the issue of oppression in Australia.

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