Aboriginal Australians: they’re not all alike

When this blog first started, as well as posting political and media related topics, we also posted many informative topics on Indigenous Australia. It is a topic that is close to most of us here and we have always endeavoured to the best of our ability to promote an awareness of our Indigenous brothers and sisters in the country they settled 60,000 years before Europeans.

This post was first published in June 2010 when we had just a handful of contributors and readers so I would like to re-introduce it now that we have gathered a large number of both along the way. It is a post that challenges the pan-Aboriginalisation opinions of the Indigenous Australians by the wider community, which is, simply; ‘they’re all alike’.

On balance I do not think it is valid to refer to Aboriginal characteristics in a general way, especially when those characteristics are based on culture.

One of my old university lectures broadly defined a culture as the human behaviour which is learned in a social environment and adapted to that environment.  As Aboriginal societies developed and adapted throughout a continent that contained a variety of environmental zones, it is concluded that Australia thus contains a variety of Aboriginal cultures.

However, these cultures do share common threads.  Three major points of similarity in cultural concepts include values towards the land and environment, relationships, and the creative stories of the Dreaming.

Aboriginal culture cannot be separated from the land.  Aborigines believe they are related to the land and that the land is sacred.

The land was created during the Dreaming and all people were born from this land, and within it the ancestral spirits still dwell.  During the creation the spirit beings took (among others) human form, and as they travelled the earth their activities, formed the environmental landmarks that are still visible today.

The values placed on relationships (in a broader sense than meaning kinship), is based on the principle of helping each other.  Within groups all possessions would be shared.  It was a moral requirement that foods be distributed to all group members, and any surplus would be traded (or offered) to other tribes, as would any item that the receiving tribe may not have access to.

The third similarity between cultures relates to the Dreaming.  Each culture may have their own interpretations of the Dreaming stories and even their own descriptive name for the event, but the mythical or religious significance of the Dreaming is a source that makes possible the celebration of life.

All aspects and activities of life are based on the Dreaming, be it in the rituals, the arts, hunting and gathering, and the two cultural similarities already discussed; the bond with the land and the principles of relationships.

How life was lived by the spiritual ancestors in the Dreaming is as it is lived by people now.  This is a concept that is difficult to explain to non – Aboriginal Australians, yet it is a concept so easy to express by those who live by it.

The similarities of attitudes to the environment itself can also be the greatest influence in creating cultural differences.  As there are environmental differences, there must be cultural diversity, and that the environmental differences in Australia had indeed given rise to socio – economic patterning.

To expand on this, a more detailed look at what identifies a culture would need to be examined than the broad offering of my old lecturer.  Cultures are integrated systems consisting of a great variety of ideas and activities influenced by the ecosystems, or simply, a way of life within an ecosystem.  A particular ecosystem may exist for desert dwellers than that say for tribes that lived on the coastal regions.  The foods hunted would be different as would the weapons used.  Language could thus be different as perhaps would art.  Different climatic conditions would also influence the way of life.

On balance I do not think it is valid to refer to Aboriginal cultural characteristics in a general way.  To do so would be classifying the Aboriginal people as a race, and I don’t believe that they are a race.  I support the opinion that throughout the continent there were territories clearly defined by language, geography and descent which divided the land into hundreds of identifiable nations.  Would you call Europeans a race?  Would you say that the Scots have all the same cultures as the English.  It is my belief that to misrepresent a person’s culture is denying that person their identity.

On balance do you think it is valid to refer to Aboriginal cultural characteristics in a general way?

2:3 Normal or de jure version of flag, or obve...

The Australian Aboriginal Flag (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

117 comments on “Aboriginal Australians: they’re not all alike

  1. Having worked in the outback of S.A long before the 1967 referendum I have a first hand knowledge of Aboriginals and their culture. Putting it bluntly, their culture was taken away by whites and nearly destroyed. It is good to see it is on its way to making a comeback.

    Most whites don’t have a clue about Aboriginal culture and most have not met one. I have worked with them and lived among them.

    It was not that long ago they were treated like Australian fauna and with utter contempt. Yes their culture is much the same all over Australia, an affinity with the land, self sufficiency and more than anything a ” Free spirit ”

    I often laugh the way mostly, I said mostly, right wingers stereo type them into the same category. That being, they drink to much and wont work. Oh the irony, they were getting along just fine until Whitey turned up on their door step. We stole their land, we stole their culture, and we stole their children. For mine if they don’t want to work fine, it’s their country I call it rent.

  2. Speaking in a general way they are not a single race, but have been derived from waves of migrations by different people over 70,000 years.

  3. Waves of different people? Didn’t they all originate from India? There’s also speculation that all the Australian Aborigines came from just one small canoe of explorers. I guess we’ll never know. Personally, I think all the physical differences that evolved are due to environmental influences.

    BTW, I remember commenting on the original post.

  4. Thanks Rosewell it is good to have people who all don’t think the same.

    After the crowd turned up on Sydney Harbour Bride to say sorry, my faith has been some what restored in humanity.

  5. Yeah, I had exposure to the culture at a fairly young age which gave me an appreciation for the land that remains to this day.

    It is interesting to observe the diversity of the mobs as they refer themselves as, but the spiritual connection to the land is the commonality that underlines their identity as indigenous.

    Got a lot of time for the brothers and sisters but not enough resources to actually make any difference but even if I could muster the funds would it make a difference? Doubt it because I believe the approach that has been tried and failed, over and over but no lesson has been learnt.

    If one was to reverse the roles and the blackfella came onto our land, dictated to us their culture what would be the result? I’m in the live and let live camp.

    On another matter…mentioned here that I took in a homeless indigenous kid a few months ago. At the time he didn’t have a tooth brush, ‘little lone’ any identification. Well, now he has ID, a learner’s license, kitted out and now is back on the land working on a station north of Charleville.

    Sure, I assisted but at no time told him how to run his life. It’s his choice…a self determination thing.

  6. Nicely said, scaper.

    In my youth we worked side by side, but retired to separate camps at night. I couldn’t tell if this was discrimination… everyone was happy with the arrangement.

    In a more general sense ‘the mobs’ are clans and they are discriminatory.

  7. Cigar to Roswell. The Australian Aborigine can be traced back to what is now India. They would obviously have to have made it a slow trip, eventually coming to Australia during an Ice Age when the seas were lower and the distances between islands between Indonesia and Australia much closer, probably in sight of each other.

    The first ‘settler’ may have even been a pregnant woman who drifted here on a log. We’ll never know, but my guess is they come in waves considering that the dingo was introduced only 6,000 years ago – some 55,000 years after the first arrivals. And by the way, the dingo is related to the Indian Wild Dog. That at least tells us that there were two migrations. I suspect there were many more in between.

  8. Cigar to el gordo. Archaeological evidence shows that there were three very distinctive races in the distant past. Most we are familiar with, such as the robust Pitjantjatjara people, while the people at Lake Mungo from 40,000 to 15,000 years ago were gracile, like Asians. The third mob were the Tasmanians who were different again.

    Much like today’s Tasmanians. Different. :mrgreen:

  9. El gordo, on the Aboriginal people having origins in India..this relates to work done which revealed that people from northern India (this region specifically) and Aboriginal were very close genetically, far closer than say eastern and western Europeans.

    As a very short precis:

    A 2009 genetic study in India found similarities among Indian archaic populations and Aboriginal people, indicating a Southern migration route, with expanding populations from Southeast Asia migrating to Indonesia and Australia.

    I believe that it was a study through the female line, but don’t quote me.

  10. yes I believe that they are an early south Asian peoples. Australia was once connected to new Guinea and indonesia. Most of the people in the photo are more caucasian than Australian Aboriginie.

  11. I have read some early European explores accounts of their remarkable bushman skills. Perfectly adapted to the Australian bush.

  12. Harry, all the people in the photo have Aboriginal heritage and call themselves Indigenous Australians. Goodness knows what their other racial backgrounds might be.

  13. Migs, does it matter. All that matters is how one is reared and what one believes themselves to be.

    I remember, as a child and a little older, one worked hard to hide any Deny who they are.

    We now have the hide, to condemn them, from recognizing their heritage, because the skin might be pale.

  14. My take on this is that all us humans originated in Africa. The Aboriginal peoples slowly migrated through southern parts of Asia until they reached what is now called Australia. Highly competitive humans from central parts of Asia driven by climate changes supplanted the Aboriginal people in the most accessible parts of Asia. The Aboriginals were driven to the peripheries, much the same as Celtic Britons etc were driven to the peripheries of the British Isles by waves of Germanic conquerors etc. Basically though, we are all human beings, one human race.

  15. I recall the first census following the introduction of the Racial Discrimination Act. There were some considerable changes to the census in that far more people identified themselves as having Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander heritage.

    It was noted that the considerable increase in numbers was way beyond what one could expect via natural increase. The conclusion was that due to the introduction of the Racial Discrimination Act that far more indigenous Australians were prepared to identify as such.

  16. Landalf, there is that theory but there is also the theory that differing groups of humans developed independently in different parts of the world with the lines becoming blurred due to inter-mating. The Chinese particularly believe this rather than the out of Africa theory.

    Most of the palaeoanthropologists of China do not agree with this. The large amount of palaeoanthropological fossils found in China suggest that Yuanmou Man of 1.7 million years ago, New Cave Man of 100,000 years ago, Upper Cave Man of 18,000 years ago and Jalai Nur Man of 10,000 years ago all had high cheekbones, flat nose bridges and spade-shaped upper front teeth, which are all characteristics of modern man in China, indicating genetic stability and evolutionary continuity. In particular, the span of 330,000 years from Peking Man, to New Cave Man and Upper Cave Man, who all made their home in the Zhoukoudian area, effectively testifies to the fact that the yellow race evolved from a local ape.

    http://www.china.org.cn/e-gudai/1.htm

  17. Iandalf gets a cigar too. Every one of us, Aboriginal Australians included, has African DNA. Our ancestry can be traced to Africa.

  18. Jenny Macklin claims a recent evaluation shows the NT Intervention is working. In fact, the research she is citing points to myriad problems with the program, writes Eva Cox

    Can Jenny Macklin please explain why she continues to fund, and even expand, compulsory income management? It has again been evaluated as offering little evidence of benefits, but her latest media release on an initial commissioned research project failed to report something crucial: the many doubts the project itself expressed about the value of income management. The research, led by the Social Policy Research Centre, is concerned about the possible damage inflicted by the NT Intervention as well as the limited positive data.

    Therefore, the Minister’s media release is quite misleading. It categorically states the program provides the following benefits and outcomes:

    “Income management helps families ensure their welfare payments are spent in the best interests of children. It ensures that money is available for life essentials, and provides a tool to stabilise people’s circumstances and ease immediate financial stress.”

    Her claim is implicitly undermined further on the press release. Positive findings from the report are indicated by listing limited benefits in the next two paragraphs: (emphasis mine)

    “The interim report by the Australian National University, Australian Institute of Family Studies and the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of New South Wales found that among Indigenous people on income management in the Northern Territory, there was a statistically significant perception of an improvement in their ability to afford food.”

    “It also found that income management may make a contribution to improving wellbeing for some, particularly those who have difficulties in managing their finances or are subject to financial harassment.”

    These are very tentative measures of perception and possibilities as opposed to statistically valid gains. As the Department has had the report for four months, the result can be viewed as their best effort to extract the best news. The media release fails to mention any of the criticisms of the program voiced in the evaluation, except the relatively innocuous difficulties of accessing some money management courses.

    They fail to include the following useful paragraphs on the limits of the program from the report itself:

    “There is little evidence to date that income management is resulting in widespread behaviour change, either with respect to building an ability to effectively manage money or in building ‘socially responsible behaviour’ beyond the direct impact of limiting the amount that can be spent on some items. As such, the early indications are that income management operates more as a control or protective mechanism than as an intervention which increases capabilities.”

    Nor did Macklin’s release report on other problems such as the high levels of feeling shamed by income management:

    “Across all of the groups on income management some two thirds or more of people experience some feelings of discrimination, embarrassment or unfairness about their being income managed, with a lack of fairness being the dominating feeling reported. Indigenous people in NTER areas felt significantly more discriminated against than those in the contrast group.”

    “For many there is a strong sense of having been treated unfairly and being disempowered. Only a quarter of people subject to income management who were surveyed said that they never felt a sense of unfairness.”

    And then there’s this, from the overall summary of the project (emphasis mine):

    “The evidence gathered to date for this evaluation suggests that NIM has had a diverse set of impacts. For some it has been positive, for others negative and for others it has had little impact. Taken as a whole there is not strong evidence that, at this stage, the program has had a major impact on outcomes overall.”

    “…The evidence indicates that the program may make a contribution to improving the wellbeing for some, particularly those who have difficulties in managing their finances or are subject to financial harassment. Voluntary Income Management in particular is viewed positively by people to whom it is applied, and by other stakeholders.”

    On the basis of the above, it is very hard to see why the Minister and her Cabinet members are not questioning the financial costs when they are looking for cuts. The program is quite expensive, with continuing costs to the NT of an estimated $60M; the administrative costs for more than 15,000 mainly Indigenous Territorians affected by the program. (This estimate is based on ACOSS findings which put the cost of the Intervention at $4400 per person.)

    The expansion into many other sites and the proposed additional categories for this program make no sense, in view of both the lack of evidence for its benefits and the widespread opposition of welfare experts. This extension of compulsory programs also ignores some evidence in the evaluation that the voluntary measure is preferred.

    Given the same department is supporting cuts to sole parents’ payments as part of a drive for a surplus, why will they not not cut this program, rather than expand it? The Government can retain some forms of voluntary support via Centrepay, for those who seem to like it, even if there is no proof they benefit, but stop the compulsory programs, except by court order.

    The evaluation points out that most of those included under this category have had no prior problems with their spending choices. So why remove their right to control their finances?

    “Over half of the Indigenous survey respondents indicated that they had no problems with alcohol, drugs or gambling in their family, some 30 per cent report a small problem and 16 per cent that one of these was a major problem. This level of incidence is not inconsistent with other data such as ABS data which reports that 46 per cent of Indigenous people in remote areas totally abstained from alcohol as did 31 per cent of those in non-remote locations, and a level of chronic risky, or high risk, drinking of 17 per cent (ABS 2011).”

    We await the Minister’s reply….

    http://newmatilda.com/2012/12/05/macklin-ignores-intervention-evaluation

  19. Catching up, from what I’ve heard it was a failure to start with, but when Rudd won office some changes were made. I’ve never supported it though, I might add

  20. Pingback: Rainforest People Gain Recognition for their National Heritage

  21. Aboriginal Australians: they are all alike. They are just like us. Human beings.

    Several decades ago I lost my job as principal of a school with some 25% Aboriginal students because I refused to accept the wishes of the local white P&C and treat them differently from the way I wanted to treat all kids. They wanted me to to cane them, because, they said, “That’s the only language they understand.”

    Mind you, back in the eighties there was almost universal acceptance of corporal punishment in schools, particularly primary schools, where even recalcitrant little girls could be smacked! But it was mostly little black boys of six, seven and eight whose names appeared again and again, over many generations, in the punishment book of that District High School. I’ve good reason to believe that they were often physically dealt with summarily by classroom teachers with no records kept at all. As those same students grew bigger, understandably they were less often caned but already resistant to learning. In fact, very little learning took place as most white adolescents were sent ‘away’ to boarding school by their parents as chaos reigned in secondary classrooms.

    I had gained the promotion to principal because of the school’s reputation for racial division and poor discipline over many years which made it unpopular to men ahead of me for promotion. As a woman with little seniority it was my only chance of moving up the ‘list’ and via a school within easy reach of Perth and my own teenage children. I was blessed in having a newly appointed deputy who had as little liking as myself for caning, which would all have fallen to him. He was a good man and like me knew how to manage children without hitting them. It was a bit harder managing some of the staff but they came round to our way eventually as they felt the place become calmer and school tone improve. Before long we had a good school.

    Harder to manage the local community who seemed not to want their children to be happy in classrooms learning alongside Nyoongar children. That P&C just did not stop their petitions and complaints despite improved performance all round, in the classroom, on the sports field and a dramatic fall off in absentism. Initially visiting superintendents reported all this with great enthusiasm, but within a few years they stopped coming since that meant meeting deputations of white parents. Particularly when our predominantly Aboriginal secondary students began to generate potential post school employment for themselves by producing some outstanding and saleable artefacts which exploited their culture.

    I use that word ‘exploit’ advisedly since our emphasis was on mass production of high quality items with only general reference to Nyoongar art or history, but still with enough ‘aboriginality’ in them to make them easy to sell to tourists in first class hotels and at the airport. Without going into the details of how my brilliant career came to a crashing halt, I guess what I’m trying to say here is that I lose patience with all this discussion about the racial origins, migration history and the variety of languages which are the stuff of legend about this great south land as if the knowing of it will somehow better help their integration into modern Australia. Aboriginal children and their parents will respond exactly as other children and their parents do if treated with respect and taught properly, no matter what their cultural heritage or skin tone.

    I have retired back here in WA after many happy years in Sydney to find that certainly Aboriginal people are more integrated than in the eighties, but they still have high rates of unemployment and early school leaving. I am not surprised at that because I learned at first hand how racist and resistant to change are the white establishments in those wheatbelt towns where so many Nyoongars are born and raised. Nor was I surprised to learn that corporal punishment in schools was only finally outlawed in this state in 1999. That means many young Aboriginal men would have been caned by a white teacher in their formative years. No wonder so many of them are still becoming recidivist offenders of one kind or another, with little self respect and often unemployable.

    Late night musings in response to your very interesting post, Migs. I am sorry I have no in-depth knowledge of Aboriginal culture, or history. And I don’t want to decry or deny the significance of all that. But I hope I make sense. Migrant children from many different cultures, races and religions come here from all over the world. It doesn’t take long, often just one generation, for them to become well integrated little Aussies without their teachers knowing much about the countries they all come from.

    Aboriginal kids can be just like them. They are just like them. They, we, are all the same. Human beings.

  22. ” Aboriginal Australians: they are all alike. They are just like us. Human beings.”

    Indeed, much is the pity the community’s in the wheat belt towns of W.A. don’t agree, as you alluded to.

    As for your Aboriginal kids can be just like them, I would respond why can’t the other kids be like just them. That is the Aboriginals. The original inhabitants of this land.

    The fact that Aboriginal kids have a high unemployment rate has got more to do with society’s expectation of them. That they don’t find working in a factory some where very appealing is, due to the fact of who they are. We, are trying to force our cultural beliefs, especially the Protestant work ethic down their throats, where it is not wanted.

    The high recidivism among their people is cause for concern, however, the cause will always be at the end of the day, racism. Even the police force’s in every state are not trusted by Aboriginal people and for good reason. Remember deaths in custody? An expose of one particular case in W.A. would be on the scale of a Soweto S. Africa.
    The over representation of Aboriginal people in custody in W.A. is a national scandal.

    The reality is, yes time has moved on they don’t need to hunt and gather anymore, however as a free spirited people, I would have thought it common courtesy for them to decide what is good or bad for them. We are trying to control a race of people we don’t understand, it will always end in tears. They have their own elders and mentors who should be allowed to get on with what it is to be an Australian Aboriginal.

    We have said sorry, we should now let them work out their own destiny. With our help if required but on their terms, not ours.

  23. Patricia, there was a leading Aboriginal teacher, on the ABC during the week, saying exactly what you have said. Yes, he believed it was the expectations that the community have of these people that acts to their downfall. He has proven , when one expects high results, one gets them. He is also against parents being penalized, if they do not attend school. His answer was, he proved this was not necessary.

    The intervention was wrong, for the simple reason, it treated all the same. If punished those who were leading successful and exemplary lives along with the guilty.

    It attempted to enforce values on people. It did not allow rewards to those who were caring and encouraging their children to strive for better lives. It ignores these people, which I suspect are the majority, not the minority, in their community

    It undermines all the processes that were already in place. It doubled up on medical assessment already done. It has not uncovered the widespread abuse of children. If it exists, such action would have forced it further underground,

    It should never have happened,

    Labor should have rescinded if, as soon as elected.

    Yes, Roswell it has been changed. What is being achieved, id anything, can be achieved other ways, taking the needs and wishes of the people concerned into considersation.

  24. Thanks, Migs. I thought of e-mailing it to you first, since I was anxious not to downplay the importance of more widespread appreciation of the history of this great continent and its peoples you wrote about here. You can understand how one of my coping mechanisms for dealing with the very unhappy experience of ‘being run out of town’ over the issue of racism all those years ago has been to focus my attention elsewhere, perhaps being afraid of re-engaging myself there. I still have only a superficial knowledge of Aboriginal history and culture.

    Yesterday, for the first time in over twenty years I pulled out journal notes, correspondence and reports which cover those years. I am happy to say that all at once I feel quite uplifted by the experiences I was reminded of. Just because the journey seemed to end so suddenly and, I felt, humiliatingly, doesn’t mean that the voyage wasn’t worthwhile and often very enjoyable. The crash, both political and personal in terms of my health, was was so devastating it seemed to blot out the good times and worthwhile relationships with kids and teachers which preceded it.

  25. Possibly one of the most destructive acts of the “intervention” was/is the abandonment of bilingual education, as a recent senate report has confirmed.
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-09-17/senate-committee-recommends-bilingual-education/4265814

    Such education involves elders and custodians of the local Law and Language in their children’s (and teachers’) education with rewards both in educational outcomes and societal cohesion.

    On balance do you think it is valid to refer to Aboriginal cultural characteristics in a general way?

    No, nor, I assume, would the Pitjantjatjara man from northern SA I once spoke with, immensely proud of his Nation, “which stretched from western NSW to the west coast”.

    Links between environment and culture can manifest in surprising (to whitey) ways, as a Lore/Law man from the Kimberley explained once, in illustration, that (speaking as a warrior) if he were to find himself in foreign “country” (such as the Dividing range) , his weapons would be useless as they “wouldn’t belong” there, and he would have to know what this “new country” would “permit” before he would be able to fashion and use equivalent weapons there. He was also quite disparaging of the “saltwater kiddies” (coastal groups), and the desert “cannibals”, both of which groups he regarded as having quite different cultures to his own, despite their outwardly similar (to me, at least) Dreamings.

    @CU, wrt to the “intervention”

    It should never have happened,

    Labor should have rescinded if, as soon as elected.

    +1

  26. I’m glad to have come across this blog. Having spent time in Aus recently ( as a part of the ABC2 series Dumb Drunk & Racist, ) I was deeply touched by some very special experiences with some very special elders. We formed instantaneous spiritual connections. I have written about it in my blog as well.
    As an Indian it wasn’t difficult to see cultural similarities that suggest that we go back thousands of years- so many rituals, beliefs, practices are common even today.
    In India- sadly, our indigenous people have almost completely lost their cultural heritage- thanks to the onslaught of the so- called modern life-style. We’re working hard to preserve whatever is still salvageable, but it’s a tough call.
    Many thanks for the insight!

  27. ………..The Quiet Revolution: Indigenous People and the Resources Boom
    The 53rd Boyer Lectures will be presented by Professor Marcia Langton AM, Chair of Australian Indigenous Studies at The University of Melbourne.

    The lectures’ subject will be The Quiet Revolution: Indigenous People and the Resources Boom. Prof Langton will look at the dependency of Aboriginal businesses and not-for-profit corporations on the resources industry and their resultant vulnerability to economic downturns…………..

    http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/boyerlectures/2012-boyer-lectures/4305696

    http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/boyerlectures/boyers-ep1/4305610

    http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/boyerlectures/boyers-ep1/4305610

    http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/boyerlectures/boyers-ep1/4305610

    http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/boyerlectures/2012-boyer-lectures-234/4409022

  28. ‘THE NSW Aboriginal Land Council has applied to explore for coal seam gas under 40 per cent of the state, sparking outrage from indigenous and non-indigenous people alike.

    ‘As a community meeting addressed by the Planning Minister, Brad Hazzard, was overrun by protesters at Lismore on the north coast this week, public submissions to the land council’s four separate applications closed.

    ‘If successful, the land council, which is the peak body for all NSW local land councils, could gain mining rights to 321,300 square kilometres.’

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/plan-to-explore-for-gas-under-40-of-state-20121207-2b11e.html#ixzz2EP0EyZSw

  29. el gordo, why should they not act. as others do. Yes, many will scream, ne among them So what. They are just people, as this site is saying. They are not all the same. Far from it.

  30. I have just watched an interview with Mabo’s daughter. It brings back to mind what Mr. Whitlam attempted to do, and What Mr. Keating achieved.

    Mr,. Keating’s Refdfern speeches is among the finest, made in this country. One, that made me feel proud. Not for what was said, but for the fact, for the first time, we were acknowledging the damage our culture had done to indigenous people.

    Mr. Howard’s response was to call it the Black armband view of history. It was not. It was a realistic view.

    Mr. Keating did manage to get strong land rights legislation through.

    Mr. Howard first task was to demolish as much as he could. Thankfully at this time, he still did not get control of the senate and the hard done was minimal.

    http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=landrights&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&ved=0CDoQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Freconciliaction.org.au%2Fnsw%2Feducation-kit%2Fland-rights%2F&ei=CnfCUL3YMcmOmQXcx4CgDw&usg=AFQjCNFlhWR7v01AEgZe2TR_oZvtPerDTA

    Many more sites to be found here.

    http://www.google.com.au/search?q=landrights&rlz=1C1YBKB_enAU506AU506&oq=landrights&sugexp=chrome,mod=3&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

  31. Welcome, Radhika. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I have had a quick look at your blog and there are many interesting stories from your visit to our country.

  32. More on Chris Sarra from the Global Mail

    Cherbourg State School’s first indigenous school principal travelled the couple of hours’ drive north from Brisbane in 1998 and arrived to find what he describes as a “disaster area”. The playground was filthy, the kids were running amok, absenteeism was high, and literacy rates were terrible.

    Dr Chris Sarra says that was regarded as normal.

    Sarra, 45, says what was going on at Cherbourg was caused by a “collusion of low expectations” among students, parents, the local community and the Queensland Education Department — and he was determined to fix it. His approach was based on the idea of “high expectations relationships”. If there was dysfunction in many local Aboriginal families, he says, that wasn’t an excuse for low expectations when kids came to school.

    At his first teaching appointment — to Cecil Plains, west of Toowoomba — Sarra realised immediately that the poor country kids at that school were also conditioned to accept a lower standard of education and to expect lower standards from themselves. So he realised it wasn’t only an indigenous issue he was responding to — that the “stronger smarter” philosophy he came up with is more widely applicable.

    Lani Guinier, an African-American, Jewish, Harvard University law professor whom Bill Clinton nominated as his assistant attorney-general for civil rights (and later withdrew because of Republican opposition), has also written about the idea that race issues should be viewed as a “canary in the mine” of wider systemic threats to equal opportunity for all.

  33. Mr. Howard and Mr. Bough lied when they said the Intervention was to protect the children from sexual and other abuse. It was noted at the time, all examples used, where those that already before the courts. In other words, known to all.

    Yes, there has already been action taken, action that was effective before the Intervention. This, is one of the worst lies in MHO.

    The intervention could have set the good work back, and place children at risk. The intervention would have made it more likely that the communities would be reluctant to cooperate.

    In these types of crimes, there is much more involved than punishing the offender.

    One cannot do this, without harming the family and child more.

    Families involved are aware of this.

    Children more so. A child will reveal the abuse, but very quickly tell you they do not want the offender punished.

    All they want is for the abuse to stop. Children sometimes are cleverer than adults.

    Mr. Howard and Co claimed that the Territory government failed to act. This article showed that not to be true.

    …Stricter child protection laws have led to a surge in Aboriginal child abuse notifications in the Northern Territory, research shows.

    Notification rates for the maltreatment of Aboriginal children increased on average by about 21 per cent a year between 1999 and 2010, according to NT government child protection figures published in the Medical Journal of Australia on Monday.

    The number of substantiated cases grew by 18 per cent a year.

    The biggest increases in substantiated cases were for emotional abuse, which grew by 30 per cent a year, and neglect, which rose 22 per cent a year.

    The increases began around 2002, when national attention focused on the maltreatment of Aboriginal children following two state-based inquiries in Western Australia and the Northern Territory, the authors said.

    Mandatory reporting obligations were strengthened in NT in 2007, the same year the Little children are sacred’ report into the sexual abuse of Aboriginal children in the territory was released.

    “The timing of these changes was consistent with the surge in notifications by many of the reporter groups, including health professionals, school personnel and police,” the report’s authors said……..

    http://www.skynews.com.au/national/article.aspx?id=824899

  34. These four events all point to Australia’s ongoing struggle to achieve reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the broader Australian community.

    When Prime Minister Paul Keating gave his speech in Sydney’s Redfern Park he became the first Australian political leader to publicly acknowledge the devastating impact of both colonial and contemporary government policies on Australia’s First Peoples.

    In his speech Keating spoke frankly and honestly of the dispossession, violence and discrimination suffered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the course of modern Australia’s creation…

    http://www.thepunch.com.au/articles/the-path-to-reconciliation-didnt-end-with-keating/?from=scroller&pos=1&referrer=article&link=text

  35. ……………….Two decades earlier his cousin, Mandawuy Yunupingu, lead singer of internationally-acclaimed band, Yothu Yindi, was refused a drink in a Melbourne bar, and last week the Government tabled the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Recognition Bill 2012 to the Australian Parliament.

    These four events all point to Australia’s ongoing struggle to achieve reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the broader Australian community.

    When Prime Minister Paul Keating gave his speech in Sydney’s Redfern Park he became the first Australian political leader to publicly acknowledge the devastating impact of both colonial and contemporary government policies on Australia’s First Peoples.

    In his speech Keating spoke frankly and honestly of the dispossession, violence and discrimination suffered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the course of modern Australia’s creation.

    He explicitly spoke of the need for “an act of recognition” by non-Indigenous Australians of the First People’s history, culture, and their historical exclusion from Australian democracy.

    While we have made progress over the past twenty years Gurrumul Yunupingu’s treatment in Melbourne last week reminds us that Aboriginal people still suffer from racism and discrimination and Australians have some way to go in achieving reconciliation.

    However, despite the experiences referred to above there remains strong support for reconciliation from both non-Indigenous and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and we are currently being offered the opportunity to make a significant step forward in this process with the proposed referendum on recognising our First Peoples in the Australian constitution….

    http://www.thepunch.com.au/articles/the-path-to-reconciliation-didnt-end-with-keating/?from=scroller&pos=1&referrer=article&link=text

  36. just out of interest, why is this article accompanied by a photo of an Aboriginal training program from British Columbia, Canada? methinks this is taking the “we’re all just the same” line a little bit too far…

  37. I wonder if any of you people have ever known or lived with aborigines? I was brought up with them, went to school with them, lived in the same small town as them. Burned into my memory is the image of a man raping his grandmother on the street outside the pub, where they spent all their time and welfare money. It was my wedding day – nice culture they have eh?

  38. Lena, I married a white man. He then set out to rape my young daughter from at least the age of seven until he was caught out when she was 14. Even after he made her pregnant. Therefore, following your reasoning, all white men are bad.

    She was under two when we married. He appeared to love and treat her as his own daughter.

    What happened to the man in your story. The one in mine went free, because other white men were reluctant to believe my daughter or charge him.

    Had a lot to do with the Aboriginal communities and people. Have never come across a similar story to yours. In fact I found the opposite to be true, that the respected their elders. Then there are always exceptions to the norm.

  39. @Catching up – that’s a very sad story. I never said anything about them being ‘bad’. We were talking about culture. Any my understanding of their culture, having lived my formative years with them, is the drinking. Never, ever, did I ever hear any of them mention their ‘culture’. It certainly wasn’t taught to their children by any one in my town. My Mother had a good friend who was aboriginal and in my Mum’s younger days, her parents employed them on their cattle property. They were valued employees. My feeling is that this ‘culture’ thing, or knowledge of ‘culture’ is new and pushed by white people who have an agenda. There are people who want to divide Australians and continually pointing out differences in culture is one way of doing it.

  40. Lena, you miss the point. We all live in different cultures, There are cultures within cultures. None of us live the same lives. Yes, and we rarely talk about our cultures. The one thing I am sure, they may have never mentioned the word culture, but I am sure they were well aware they were d\ifferent from the white people around them.

    What you are describing has more to do with poverty and lack of power, than culture.

    Culture in itself cannot be bad, There are bad people in all cultures. They are not bad because of their culture.

    Yes, my story was sad, but that is not why I used it as an example. I used it to cancel out the story you told. It happened a long time ago, and I trie\y hard to keep it in the past. Much good has happened to balance it out.

  41. “Lena, you miss the point. We all live in different cultures, There are cultures within cultures”

    Um yes this is true to some extent but not exactly…Italians, Germans, Greeks, Irish, and English…Yes, all have different traditions but many similarities and common histories. Likewise, Aboriginals by their definition do not. Some cultures are easily amalgamated into others because they are simply amalgamable (Asians of all types for example) and others are not.

    “What you are describing has more to do with poverty and lack of power, than culture.”

    This is the most overused excuse under the sun and to continue to keep peddling it is a recipe for NOTHING ever being accomplished. If you are going to push the “poverty” reasoning ultimately you end up back at “white Europeans” taking their land; they simply lost in that struggle and bemoaning it is counterproductive. As has been discussed on this before, living between two worlds is not the way onto a new path and by people continuing to make excuses for them you are in fact “feeding” this mentality.

    “Culture in itself cannot be bad, There are bad people in all cultures. They are not bad because of their culture.”

    Ok, clearly you are missing the point here. In defining what is a bad culture and isn’t we must ask basic questions. However, there are many cultures that are not EQUAL; some far superior then others. A culture that incorporates cannibalism or barbarism into its traditions for example may not be bad in your eyes but it certainly has no place in the modern world if it ever did (Tribes of PNG, Aztecs, and Pagan Irish). A culture that is inflexible and unable to adapt to changing conditions may not be bad but it is “incompetent” and will cease to exist if it is unable to learn and adapt. It may be painful to admit but there are plenty of cultures that fit this definition even today.
    The Aboriginal Culture, whom I do have sympathy for like my own Native American, is simply incompetent (not to say the individuals are necessarily). Rich with traditions and history of its own but not well suited to the modern world. They are in essence STUCK in their own misery and to keep telling them it is “poverty” which also has no meaning in their “culture” as they are still hunter gathers for all intents in purposes living in a world where this lifestyle is gone is nonsense. Until we remove the “excuses” and force them to confront their own destiny (which many have started to do) things will not improve. Humbly, if not for the eventual cessation of European hostilities and now modern Australian charity, they would be gone already or reduced in such numbers they would cease to be much of a culture. Cultures must learn to evolve or they parish much like the Neanderthals. This may not be the “politically correct” reality but it is none the less still reality.

  42. Jesus H Christ you really are up yourself Sparta. That far you can only see the shoe laces hanging out of your own arse. You really are the stereo type of the ugly American. You would fit right in with the ideology of the Nazi’s my God I thought people like you were long gone. Who in Jesus’s name gave you the right to decide what is good or a bad culture? You steal the land from the American tribes, poison them, slaughter them in God knows how many numbers, then have the mitigated gall to state (You can’t make this shit up btw) We remove the excuses and force them to confront their own destiny ” Well said Dr Goebbels. Who the fuck is we when your at home. If you went to university which I very much doubt, I suggest you ask for your money back, because it was certainly wasted on you.

    Don’t bother replying, I wont be reading it.. Next time I want to read similar shite you write, I will get a copy of Mein Kampf.

  43. “You would fit right in with the ideology of the Nazi’s”

    Actually no, you did notice the “nationalist socialist” part in NSDP did you not? It is a common misconception found in the uneducated PJ and the debate goes like this…

    http://www.dailypundit.com/2005/06/29/why_are_the_nazis_considered_r/

    “Who in Jesus’s name gave you the right to decide what is good or a bad culture?”

    It is simply an opinion PJ, like the one you have put fourth that does nothing to address my points but only seeks to personally attack me. It is an opinion like that stated “there is no such thing as a bad culture”. Surely you follow that?

    “You steal the land from the American tribes, poison them, slaughter them in God knows how many numbers, then have the mitigated gall to state (You can’t make this shit up btw)”

    Um, no I did no such thing nor did any of my ancestor’s dear PJ…I like many here in this country have Native American blood lines. Anybody who would make such statement is truly ignorant of our history and has probably been educated in the past 20 years. I forgive you for being young and dumb though or if not; god help you!

    “If you went to university which I very much doubt”

    Yep went to University with honors and even completed Medical School…

    “Don’t bother replying, I wont be reading it.. Next time I want to read similar shite you write, I will get a copy of Mein Kampf.”

    But of course you will PJ, even if you won’t admit as much but to be honest it wouldn’t surprise me. I often find people with very limited repertories draw similar conclusions. Not really interested in challenging their own belief systems but in finding solace with others whom agree with them. Traditionally, that was what “higher education” was about; challenging ideas. It was how one grew as a person but alas, you are clearly stunted and can expect no further personal exploration if you feel you have all you need. Learning is life-long and most of it is not done during university by the way. I find my opinions modified and even changed at times not by surrounding myself with like minded people BORING, SNORE….But with DIFFERENT ideas; especially those with whom I disagree with. You should do the same and hey, maybe you will actually learn something for a change.

    So yes, lets keep “blaming” poverty on anything we cannot fix through policy, that way we never have to address that perhaps the problem does not lie with us to fix, but with those whom it purportedly inflicts…Because, blaming poverty for just about everything thus far has yielded much around the world, hasn’t it?

  44. Sparta reminds of a cartoon I eye balled in Time magazine about 1965.

    The said cartoon depicted Adolph Hitler sitting around in a grass hut with Martin Borman somewhere in South America Adolph says to Martin “You know Martin, after all these years the Jews, I have forgiven them.

    At the white man’s school, what are our children are taught ?
    Are they told of the battles are people fought
    Are they told of how our people died?
    Are they told of why our people cried?
    Australia’s true history is never read,
    But the Blackman keeps it in his head.

    Anon. Aboriginal poet.

    I suggest a nice red neck book “Triumph in the Tropics” 1959 (NOT 1859) an available text book in Queensland schools. Commissioned for the States Centenary celebrations. The work of Sir Raphael Cilento and Clem Lack.

    Sir Ralp or Ray as he liked be known, was a rabid right wing conservative. Just ike most red necks.

    In part 2 of the book. Like his own half wild dogs the black could be frozen into shivering immobility or frenzied terror by people or things that provoked impressions of terror; or moved to yelps of delight or to racing round, or striking grotesq expression to frantic excitement.

    It went on with more insults.

    Last sentence. These are primitive reactions common to many feral jungle creatures.

    “The squatting Age” Professor Stephen Roberts. fairly, since they were completely amoral and usually incapable of sincere and prolonged gratitude.

    Yea stop their social welfare I reckon.

    It was quite useless to treat them (Aboriginals)

    Superior cultures is what led to the final solution.

  45. I said I wouldn’t respond, but I will to the first paragraph. The rest is just more right wing crappola.

    ” Actually no, you did notice the “nationalist socialist” part in NSDP did you not? It is a common misconception found in the uneducated PJ and the debate goes like this…
    http://www.dailypundit.com/2005/06/29/why_are_the_nazis_considered_r/

    That my fine un-educated right wing oaf, is the biggest misnomer to come down the pike. The NAZI’s were right wing fascists. There is not an historian on the planet, who would say anything else. I could care less what the dailypundit has theorised, it is revisionist history, clap trap, in the extreme. This is not the first time I have read such fantasy.

    The problem with the extreme right and that’s you by the way is, because the right cannot associate the progressive modern left with Stalin, Mao, or any other communist mass murderer from the mists of time, you are now trying it on with the Nazi’s.

    The reason the right is so eager to associate the modern left with the Nazi label is, right wing fascism is on the rise in the land of the free and Europe. The racism that is being generated by this is manifested by ultra rabid right wing cracka jacks in the Tea Party movement, in Europe the skin heads.. .Right wingers are hiding from it because it is guilt by association, such association being much warranted.

    Next you’ll be telling me the right wing reject Anders Breivik was a communist.

    Sparta you need a shovel me ol China, that trowel you’re using is just not big enough to lay it on the way you do.

  46. Sparta, my old foe, as soon as I get near a computer – which won’t be for many hours – I will be taking the hammer to you. Brace yourself.

    (You’re saved for the time being because I’m currently on my mobile device).

  47. Sparta, what a great culture you Americans have. Twenty nine people shot and killed at a kindergarten in Conneticut. Twenty children are among the dead.

    Vegasjessie has a great article opposing your gun laws. Her link on the left is worth following.

  48. So far in this debate between PJ and Sparta, my money is on the latter.

    Its been over 200 years since the invasion of this land by Europeans and its patently obvious that trying to take a hunter gathering people and convert them into modern homo sapiens was always going to prove difficult.

    The welfare mentality only puts them in the same category as the poor white trash and illegal Muslims…… which is totally inappropriate.

  49. By comparison this is appropriate, but we still have to wean them off welfare.

    ‘MORE than 30 years after Eddie Mabo began the fight that secured land rights for indigenous Australians, his original dream of reclaiming legal ownership of the island paradise of his people has come true.

    ‘In a historic and emotional ceremony, the Queensland government yesterday handed the century-old “reserve” title over Mabo’s beloved Murray Islands – of Mer, Dauar and Waier – to the Meriam people.’

    Michael McKenna in the Oz

  50. @eg

    Its been over 200 years since the invasion of this land by Europeans and its patently obvious that trying to take a hunter gathering people and convert them into modern homo sapiens was always going to prove difficult.

    (my bold)

    Seems, once again, misses the point of the post viz. ‘Aboriginal australians, they’re not all alike and ignores the evidence (permanent settlements, large scale eel farming) that not all af the Aboriginal cultures are (or were) alike despite sharing common storylines.

    It may come as a surprise to eg and other racists that Aboriginals are

    modern homo sapiens

    any claim otherwise, is an act of overt racism and betrays a mindset at war with reality.

    Why am I not surprised :?:.

  51. I’ve just dropped in from the Pleiades and looking at the situation realistically the indigenous population of this desert island have been on the back foot since Europeans arrived.

    Their incarceration rates outstrip the general population, its a disgrace and something should be done about it.

    I’m interested in suggestions.

  52. Aboriginal people are jailed for the same things white people aren’t, such as drunkedness. Don’t you read the papers Lena?

  53. Roswell its getting drunk in a public space that’s causing the trouble, they treat the outdoors as if its their lounge room.

    White man’s poison has nothing to recommend it.

  54. @eg

    realistically the indigenous population of this desert island have been on the back foot since Europeans arrived.

    More reading required, see Australian Frontier wars

    The Australian frontier wars were a series of conflicts fought between Indigenous Australians and European settlers that spanned a total of 151 years

  55. Miglo, do I have it correct that there is a bigger percentage of non drinkers among the Aboitignal culture than ours.

    The problem being that when they drink, it affects them more. The other being, that is a historical context, their drinking takes place in the open, in parks and other venues.

    Not in hotels and the privacy of their own home. This was particularly so in country towns.

    I can remember as a young governess in Queensland, we would all head for town. Us whites spent the day in the pubs, where many got very drunk. It retrospect I wonder how most made it home. Family arguments were a sight to see. The sober men had their hands full keeping order.

    The police must have known, many, maybe even most, had drunk drivers are the wheel when the left town.,

    The aboriginal staff found their way to the town centre, which was a park. There they spent the day.

    Be aware, things are not always as they seem.

    Innocence people do get locked up. Guilty people are often overlooked

    PS. I am not an indigenous person, in case some get the wrong idea. Also I have had much contact during my lifetime. Have had many friends.

    Yes, there are some that let the side down. There is a much greater percentage, that live as you and I do. Many great achievers among their mob.

  56. Still can’t get the taste of the doused Sacred Fire out of my mouth. Here is my take on the Tent Embassy visit the other day.

    “I arrived at Musgrave Park this morning at 10:47. As I pulled up there was three police officers overseeing the Council ‘Rapid Response Group’ dousing the Sacred Fire.

    After three buckets of water the fire was extinguished. The council and police left the scene at 10:58. The fire was relit at 11:08. Due to the tinder being damp from showers, the fire was difficult to light. Ripped out several pages from my notebook to get it started.

    The main purpose of my attendance was to show support and get their side of the story as was suspicious of the media reporting.

    Interviewed Judulu who is from Cape York.

    This episode of intimidation has its roots in a meeting on Native Title that was held at the Stamford Plaza Hotel in Brisbane. This meeting was a $1,000 a head event. The attendees were mining and coal seam gas executives in the main. After protestations by the brothers and sisters outside, two were granted entry. They brought up the issue of Aboriginal Sovereignty and was asked to leave. This is how this episode started.

    On or round about December 5 the council was invited to meet with the Embassy representatives. The morning before the meeting was to be held the police turned up (30 cars with seventy police) at 1:00AM. A fire truck also attended and the Council RRG.

    The pretence was overt drug and alcohol abuse. Judulu told me that there was no such use and no drugs were detected…not that the police even bothered to search anybody or had any evidence. A ruse to justify the intimidation.

    The council is also saying that the Elders want the Embassy shut down which is false. One Elder wants the Embassy shut down, his name is Des and there is also what Judulu calls “a blow in” called Adrian who is not an Elder. The truth is more Elders support the Embassy, in fact those Elders were at the park when the police intervened.

    Also, the so called Elders are called the Brisbane City Council Elders.

    One purpose of the Embassy to assist homeless and wayward kids and they have helped many in the short tenure. Kids of white and dark skin. Judulu said “we do not discriminate”.”

  57. If being a ‘bogan’ is obeying the law and not going to jail – then yep, that’s me. Guilty as charged.
    Does name calling further your cause?
    Does putting people down make you feel better?
    Does not using your real name on posts make you more or less plausible?

  58. Lena Hope is no doubt like el gordo and Sparta. What they know about Aboriginal culture would fit on the back of a postage stamp.

    Of course right wingers have this wonderful notion of Aboriginal culture. It reminds me of ” The Whiteman’s burden ” by Rudyard Kipling. I didn’t realise we still had so many ignorant people around. Still rednecks are still in the minority thank God.

    This blog if anything is very informative.. .

  59. I am sure trolls are on a roster, that they move from site to site. What gets me, is that they all use the same language and words. Starts off with, use you own name we do. Do they, how do we know that. Put the phone number up, so we can check.

  60. Watching those parents carrying those small children out of that school, which cater to ids between 5-10, makes one want to cry. Why cannot the Yankees do something about their gun culture. It is just not worth it.

    One can imagine what the scene must be within those two classrooms.

    We have the hide to run down the cultures of Indigneous people, world wide.

  61. I don’t even know what a troll is. I thought it was something that lived under a bridge in children’s fairy tales. So . . . I am a ‘bogan’ AND a ‘troll’? Hmmmmm .. . . . . .
    Someone asked what I know about their culture. I’ve lived with them – have you?
    Nah, probably not. So, no, I am NOT ignorant of their lifestyles – never saw any culture.
    Catching Up (not your real name I assume) – I don’t ‘move from site to site’. What other sites are you talking about? Tell me now and I’ll go and have a quick look and see if it’s worthwhile.
    Migs – getting used to your irony – try getting used to mine.

  62. How can calling people names like bogan and troll do any good to your cause.
    Very sad events in the USA today. We should be concentrating on our children and their safety and future and not worrying about the past.

  63. Lena, can I point out what could be an inconvenient fact, you are the visitor here.

    It is suggested, that those who do not know what a troll is, only have to look in a mirror.

  64. Lena,

    Many here have lived amongst Aboriginal people. One even holds a BA in Aboriginal Affairs Administration and a BA (Hons) in Aboriginal Studies ;)

    Look before you leap…

  65. “Someone asked what I know about their culture. I’ve lived with them – have you?”

    I was living with them in Baghdad whilst you were still dad’ bag.

    Oh mummy can we go to the museum today I want to learn all about Aboriginal culture? What’s that Lena? Oh I think it’s something about black people. I want to find out if it’s true we murdered lots of them, turned them all into alcoholics and stole their land. Don’t be silly Lena, Toorak and Vaucluse have always been here. What do you think we are savages?

    Cheap novel ain’ the half of it.

  66. Lena/Diamondesque,

    I guess we got off on the wrong foot. You are welcome to post here but you might want to appreciate that we’re a passionate bunch. We don’t mind a fight.

    I wouldn’t say we’re worrying about the past, instead, we’re just trying to fill in a few knowledge gaps. People here like reading the Indigenous posts because they want to learn, not criticise.

    My name is public, btw, you just need to go to the About Us page to find it.

    The tragedy in America has shaken everybody. Here’s a good piece written by Vegas Jessie less than two weeks ago that is very prophetic.

    http://vegasjessie.com/2012/12/05/guns-dont-kill-people-gopeople-kill-people/

  67. PJ – sorry, your post doesn’t make any sense. What’s Baghdad got to do with the culture of Australian aborigines? Really sorry if I have missed something here.
    Bacchus (god of wine – does that come in a cask?) – and do they still live with them?
    Perhaps now that they are educated, they are living elsewhere? Have they abandoned their roots and are now taking advantage of the society that educated them but continually malign.
    PJ – Don’t understand your references to Toorak and Vaucluse. I have never been there. Is that where you live?
    If you want to see real poverty, go to Laos. I have just been there for the second time. Very poor people, very poor country. The people are amazing, hard working and the children crave an education. There is no government welfare and everything they have, they earn. I once went with a team of people and we painted schools, paid for school fees for students, donated (bought locally) school books, uniforms, school necessities, etc., taught English. They have earned my respect because they don’t sit around waiting for someone to give it to them or do it for them. Instead of complaining about their situation (and let me tell you, this country has been invaded many times over the centuries), they get on with life, doing the best they can for their families with what they have.

  68. Lena, just thought to let you know that part of my family is Torres Strait Islander. Rash generalisations are the basis of most racists prejudices, plus fear of anyone who isn’t exactly the same as themselves…insular and paranoid would be an apt description.

  69. Lena, if you want to see real poverty then spend some time in the Anungu Pijantjatjara Lands. They used to have hope, until Howard cancelled the CDEP program. They used to have pride, until Howard cancelled the CDEP program. They used to have a purpose, until Howard cancelled the CDEP program.

    Or go to Lord Vesty’s station. Count the number of taps for his garden. Then count the number of water taps available to the local Aboriginal community. The garden wins.

    But if you go to the APL you won’t be able to take any alcohol. However, you might be lucky enough to run into one of the white blokes who illegally sell alcohol to the locals for a 400% profit. Don’t let the cops catch you though.

  70. I’m sure that Laos has much poverty. That is sad. It’s sadder to see it in your own country though.

    Lena, are you saddened by the plight of Australians who suffer from poverty?

  71. Watching that tragedy in the USA. What a funny culture they have, that puts guns above the lives of young children.

    Watching the reporters pushing their mikes into the face of those young children that had just witnessed, what one could say, would be ones worse nightmare.

    Lena, we are not talking about the past. We mostly talk about today and what can make tomorrow better.

    Another thing, we find it as a useless exercise to impose our values on others. We do not see the need to blame the victim.

    I do not believe you have any interest in indigenous people at all. You are more about making excuses for your lack of care. They can do without your misplace advice.

    Do not see that any demanding handouts. See more that are telling us to butt out of their lives.

    Turn your concern to the gun culture of the USA. May you have more success there.

    My name is known by most. It is not that well hidden at all. Would love to put it up front, but one has to be a little more prudent, and because of the ratbags that come our way.

    I never visit another site, and immediately start off by telling them how to run the site. Never tell them what to do. I believe that the manners that apply in everyday life, should be extended to cyberspace, it’s one wants a civil world.

    Also believe, as one would deal with shit in the everyday world, one does so in cyberspace. One challeng’s it.

    Now we could have you wrong, and really hope you prove us wrong. That would be nice.

  72. Yes Min, we have been down this path so often, that we are inclined to cut if off at the pass.

    Racism leads nowhere. Does not supply any answers. Hurts people, those who hand it out, and those who receive.

    Yes, my lovely Samoan, Uragyan and Australian part indigenous grand and great grandkids are thriving. Growing into beautiful people,

  73. Watching these kids, such little ones being interviewed, leaves one cold. Is there no boundaries they will not cross.

    The President sounds like he is saying, enough is enough. Let’s hope so. This is the third in a few months I believe.

    That gun belonged to the mother, that he shot.

  74. Miglo – there are no government ‘programs’ in Laos for the people. To feed their families they grow their food. The children (teenagers) work on the weekends and after school making rice noodles in a shed out the back of their homes. One girl told me that this brings $Aus50.00 a week extra for her family. That’s the difference between eating one day or not, to some of them. Some families make spoons out of the bombs that America dropped on them during the Vietnam war. One person a day is still killed or maimed by these unexploded ordnances. (when I was there, I donated money for a leg, as did my daughter). Most of the villagers have no access to hospitals or if they do, the hospitals don’t have any medication or equipment. Instead of crying about it or waiting for government to start a ‘program’, they do something with their lives. Australians don’t know what poverty is.
    Catching Up – you’re probably right. I have no interest in people who won’t help themselves.
    Oh and Miglo – I am not interested in taking alcohol anywhere. Even you must agree that alcohol is a major problem and why you would want them to have easy access to it is beyond me.

  75. Goodness no, I don’t want them to have access to it. It was a local decision to make the APL a dry area, but it’s a shame that some white people are running a black market up there.

  76. Miglo, all we have to agree to, is that these people do not help themselves. How arrogant can one be.

    I know of many aboriginal;a people that spends their lives working hard for their people.

    Wonder who if any, has Lena ever worked for, except to better herself.

    She did not have a roof over her head, or access to three meals a day. NO she did it all on her own.

  77. Lena that the joke was lost on you doesn’t surprise me. It is obvious you have limited life’s experiences. As for going to Laos, I am an x mariner in another life, I have seen more ports than (I’ll try again) Sir Les Patterson.

    As for your, Australians don’t know what poverty is, you must be having a laugh? The original inhabitants of this land know exactly what poverty is. If you have travelled the outback of Australia, which you obviously haven’t you wouldn’t make such asinine comments. Poverty is still alive and well in Aboriginal communities in this fair land.

    Try this one on for size FACT. The some reps of the conservatives in Western Australia took wine up into the Kimberly’s in the seventies into the local communities in 44 gallon drums. In exchange for their vote. Of course you probably think I am making that up.

  78. 1) Poverty: The state of being extremely poor.

    Past Colonialism= Modern Poverty

    The standard “left” view is to blame poverty in a historical context, that being it was inflicted on them via “European colonization/ exploitation”. I completely reject this notion to explain MODERN problems but for the sake of the argument let’s look at that explanation. The human race has been conquering each other since our earliest times. Whether it was in looking for more land, resources etc, this is the state of modern man and it continues to this day albeit not as much through conflict. How do one people conquer another?

    In this case it was simply a more advanced culture came into contact with a less advanced culture (Much like Neanderthal vs. Cro-Magnon). Now, I am not really interested in getting hung up on terse of words here so sorry if it offends the sensibilities of some (PJ) but paleontologist parallel colonialism with the analogy as well so take it up with them. Now it could be through direct competition (killing) or indirect (disease) etc but to suffice to say that the Aboriginals were conquered. However, unlike the Neanderthal every possible means of saving the Aboriginal has been implemented by the colonizer since; except for the European descendents and all those who followed them packing up and going home. So why are they still for all intents in purposes culturally stuck in a 40,000 year old mindset?

    Why can we completely destroy a culture, slaughter its people, and destroy all it has built and they manage to come back to pre war capacity and excel for instance GERMANY OR JAPAN anybody? Such comparisons are easily found yet hardly ever made? If it is colonialism=poverty why are some cultures able to thrive and others not? One would certainly have to look at innate differences no matter how controversial; there can be no other explanation. Looking at the modern Aborginial plight in isolation is a recipe for going nowhere.

    I have always contended that the modern Aboriginal “problem” is a cultural form of “Munchhausen syndrome”; propagated from generation to generation by the people and by the State. Where as in trying to understand what they can’t the Aboriginal has found the perfect “doctor”, the Australian State and proverbial guilt ridden “lefty”; one feeding into the other and ultimately getting nowhere.
    Now to break this rather destructive cycle would mean to abandon firmly held left wing dogma but while this is somewhat impossible for many on the left it is inherently, intuitively obvious to most layman. They too can look at a host of analogies and see the colonial past=modern poverty construct as flawed but hey, what do I know I am trained to look at a problem and solve it free of pandering for funds or sympathy.

  79. I have only a little of the above comment, No need to bore myself reading more..

    Are we being told that poverty is the result of lefties.

    That is strange, as in poverty existed long before socialism emerged. I suspect, in fact know, it was thinking and caring people looking for the causes of poverty, that socialistic ideas gained ground.

    Poverty is to be found in all societies, not just among what some see as inferior indigenous people.

    Poverty is caused by those who have control of the money tree.

    Poverty is caused by many having lack of power, in their lives. Poverty is caused by the environment one is born into,

    No one chooses to live in poverty.

    If that one is a bleeding heart, so be it.

    Stop blaming the victim. It is wrong, It is cruel.

    Yes, it will be the people themselves that get themselves out of it. They will work, as they do now, in the political arena to bring about change.

  80. Like I said in a previous burst, Sparta’s ramblings are straight out of Mein Kamph.

    It is sad people with these thought patterns exist, but exist they do. We will always have them and we must be vigilant and be prepared to fight this nonsense. We will always have our set backs, John Howard, George Bush, Maggie Thatcher, David Cameron to name but a few in our history. But the fight goes on, letting the Sparta’s of the world win is not an option.

    As an aside my faith in the American people was some what restored with the re- election of Obama, The rejection of Romney was not a surprise to me. I think the Americans knew what they were in for with his election. He would have made Ronny Raygun look like a paragon of virtue, a social worker.

  81. Pingback: Australian Aboriginal knowledge recorded | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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