I’m a young Gumbayngirr woman. I want to say ‘We’ but I’m going to point out who exactly each time.
You live on a tribe’s Country*. It always has been and always will be Indigenous Country. (Country: to Indigenous people are their ancestral, spiritual homeland where they belong to the Land and share a deep bond that is really hard to explain) You live in a nation built on colonial racism. Which is still apparent in everything. Indigenous Australians owe the British nothing. Indigenous Australians are still being oppressed by the government through law restrictions, refusing Indigenous sovereignty, not acknowledging the past, willful amnesia, the entire education system, making loopholes in policies making it hard for Indigenous people to get jobs, negative representation, not stopping racism when they witness it, unwillingness to make a treaty, making Indigenous people move off their land for mining. Indigenous people aren’t always black. That’s the stereotype you support when you don’t believe someone’s Indigenous just because they’re pale. Every Indigenous person you meet has a Letter of Aboriginality because we have to prove we’re from our ethnic background because Non-Indigenous people can’t be trusted to not stake a claim for Aboriginality, and makes it harder for any families who were removed, thus supporting assimilation. The government has in the past successfully scared Non-Indigenous people into thinking Indigenous sovereignty was a bad thing because it will take away western value system of property (meaning stolen land in Australia). For Native Title, Indigenous people must prove lineage and connection to land before settlement. Which is very difficult especially if you were removed off land, Indigenous people are 3% of the population. Minority. Indigenous people are individuals. Hobbies, cultures, interests, religion, beliefs all varying. Indigenous people want a treaty. Multiculturalism in Australia is complete bullshit. It’s goes along the value of ‘we are all the same, therefore no one is different’ completely destroying the idea of Indigenous sovereignty and is the governments move to look more appealing in the eyes of the globe and not impacting white Australians. Indigenous Australians did not name themselves ‘Aboriginal/Indigenous’ etc. Indigenous people still don’t have their own collaborative name so every time that term is used, it’s reinforcing western domination of classification. Life is hard. It was hard for immigrant families to settle. It was hard for convicts to survive. It was difficult for Indigenous people to last through massacres, the stealing of children and forced assimilation and inter generational trauma. Indigenous people have their own internal problems and are trying to change it. Australian Indigenous academics, artists, novelists are a thing. LGBTQI+ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders exist. Indigenous queer studies is different from mainstream queer studies. Flora and Fauna Act never actually existed, it was a mindset many White Australians possessed. Hell some still do. Mission reserves still exist. They’re usually strong communities these days. There is an Aboriginal Tent Embassy. Because a handful of activists went to Parliament to claim land rights and fight for sovereignty, because Indigenous people are alienated on their own Country. Indigenous people still face racism, because it is the foundation of Indigenous presence in Australian society. Australia has had many frontier wars which aren’t discussed in classrooms. The term ‘Aborigine’ is taken to offence these days. Don’t use it. Indigenous Australian’s were making bread 15,000 years before it was first done in Egypt. If you’re of convict descent. You’re a Settler. It’s flexible and debated. Who’s a Settler? Indigenous people as a whole do not hate white people. It’s the white patriarchy of western values. To all stupid white people, reverse racism doesn’t exist. If you understood what racism was, you would never say that.
Indigenous people can literally blame all their problems on white privilege.
If you don’t believe me or want to argue, you lack education about Australia. And is honestly the reason we’re like this. I don’t want to point this out to just White Australians, because we get racism off every one. I didn’t put sources because I want people to do their own research. People need to educate themselves and stop depending on others to do it for them. You can start by googling what is ‘Imperalism’ and ‘Colonisation’ and comparing the two and how that relates to ‘Nationalism’ then search Aborigine Protection Board 1869 (Vic) and try to find out why this happened in the first place. And if you’re feeling lucky try Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu.
Today we celebrate the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.
I hope to spread some awareness about Indigenous Australian history, and of the plight that is suffered every day by many Aboriginals within Australia.
Aboriginal Australians belong to the longest surviving culture on Earth, having existed here for at least 65,000 years. Many components of this culture have remained useful since their inception, and can be observed in use today. Colonial thought harbored a skewed view of progress and of privilege. When the First Fleet landed in Botany Bay in 1788, Captain Cook and his crew failed to observe permanent dwellings and demarcated land which, in their eyes, would have signified ‘proper’ land ownership. Their failure to understand Aboriginal society allowed them to justify the myth of terra nullius, of land belonging to no one, because they categorized Aboriginals as scenery, as part of the land; as animals. The beleif in this myth led to the mass genocide of Aboriginal people and the defilement of their culture. Indigenous Australians were dispossessed, enslaved, raped, and displaced onto missions and reserves for forced enculturation, christianization and adoption of colonial ideals.
Once deemed a ‘dying race’, Aboriginals were almost completely wiped out. The first Australian colonials believed this extinction to be an inevitability which was caused by the Aboriginals occupancy of the lowest rungs in the evolutionary hierarchy, where white Europeans inhabited the very top. The amount of hardship endured by Aboriginals beginning from the day of invasion, is impossible to conceptualize. It was only in 1967 that they were formally recognized as citizens of Australia, to be included in the census. Despite all of this, more than 3% of Australia’s population identifies as Aboriginal, and the population is rising.
Disappointingly, many of the dominant myths which were believed by the first colonials are still believed by Australians today. A truly disgusting amount of racism and ignorance remains in the minds of many Australian citizens regarding their perceptions of this continents First People. The situation of Indigenous Australians today is complex and upsetting, with suicide and incarceration rates much higher than that of the white population. Still, much progress has been made, though it is difficult to see what lays on the horizon.
In a world where we have destroyed and poisoned our Earth, believing ourselves to be separate from it, as being more powerful than nature, we have much to learn from these peoples whom have been so gravely mistreated throughout the course of history. We are all part of the land. The Australian continent is ancient, mysterious and deeply spiritual. Australia’s First Nations People have a deep and true connection to the spirit of the land, and it’s about time we listened to them, and learned from them, before it’s too late.
Australia; always was, always will be Aboriginal Land.
Pictures from the Invasion Day Sydney March; I believe as allies it is very important us to educate ourselves on issues of First Nation Australians, learn to be respectful and stand in solidarity with them. We in Australia are all living on occupied land unless we are Indigenous Australians, we must recognise this privilege and understand that we have so much more in common with Indigenous people than the colonisers. Understanding the history and the heritage of the First Peoples is something that is very important to me and I know there is strength in solidarity. Purna Swaraj (complete self-governance) was proclaimed by Indians on this very day the 26th January in 1930 which rejected the dominion status conferred by Britain. That is all I celebrate today and I wish the same for Indigenous Australians.
Warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are advised there are images and names of deceased persons below that may cause sadness or distress.
Sorry it took a while to get to this and my apologies, but this is a long answer.
My icon is in protest of the date that Australia marks to celebrate Australia Day, which is the official National Day of Australia. It marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British ships at Port Jackson, and the raising of the Flag of Great Britain at Sydney Cove by Arthur Phillip.
However, it’s not a day of celebration for everyone, namely, the Aboriginal people of Australia.
Our history did not begin with the arrival of the British; we enjoyed thousands of years in this country with our own sovereignty. For many of us, celebrating on the 26th is not respectful because we view it as a day of mourning. It marks the beginning of colonisation and genocide of our peoples. It is celebrating the beginning of oppression for Aboriginal peoples.The dispossession of lands; mass murder; as well as threats of cultural and linguistic extinction.
Many of us refer to it as Invasion Day as it was an act of war against sovereign peoples; others, Survival Day, to recognise our resilience in the face of 200+ years of outright systematic genocide from the British imperialism and Australian colonialism.
We, the First Australians, do want to celebrate a day when we can talk about all of the wonderful things we love about our country. Yet, the 26th is not a day that has EVER felt good for us.
Australia, like many other colonial and post-colonial nations, has a history of denying that there was ever much wrong doing against Aboriginal people. And when there finally is an acknowledgement, others demand that we, as Aboriginal people, ‘get over it’.
Let me illustrate (in a short list) some of the things they want us to ‘get over’:
- Spread of smallpox that killed large numbers of Aboriginal people when the First Fleet arrived
- Arthur Philip calling for the death of Aboriginal warrior Pemulwuy after he responded to violence against local Aboriginal people, namely women and children
- ‘Parties’ sent out to massacre Aboriginal populations for ‘offences’ such as killing livestock to feed their families after many of the native animals were driven out by early graziers.
- Sexual violence against Aboriginal women and children
- Aboriginal people being forced to live on missions and reserves
- Aborigines Protection Board
- Aboriginal children of mixed parentage being forcibly removed from their families
- Assimilation Policy
- Exclusion from Education
- Aboriginal Deaths in Custody
Here are some famous images of Aboriginal men who were taken prisoner. Images like these were often taken after a massacre had occurred.
Caption: Head chains were sometimes used for a Native’s entire Prison Sentence, up to 3 years or more, 24 hours a day.
The reasons for many of these ‘arrests’ were to dispossess people so that farmers could have their land; or in response to an Aboriginal person killing livestock for food in order to survive.
Below, we see Aboriginal children who were taken from their families and forced to live in ‘Homes’ where they were trained to be domestics and laborers for white families. Many suffered physical and sexual abuse. Many never found their families again.
Caption (which was handwritten by a white woman wanting an Aboriginal child as a domestic): I like the little girl in centre of group, but if taken by anyone else, any of the others would do, as long as they are strong.
The wider Australian community does not like to acknowledge that these abuses occurred in our SHARED HISTORY. Celebrating the official day of our nation when it marks the beginning of imperial rule in our country which led to these government sanctioned atrocities is NOT a happy thing for us. This is why we protest celebrating ‘Australia Day’ on the 26th of January.
These are from my own personal teaching resources; I use them with students to teach them about the History Wars Debate:
Historians engaged in History Wars Debate
Australian Prime Ministers on Australian history.
Discussion topics for students on omission and inclusion in history.
I think most Australians subscribe to Howard’s view that sharing the black armband view of history makes Australia’s colonial narrative look like a ‘disgraceful story of imperialism, exploitation, racism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination…’
If that is the story of Australia, then it should be told. We should be celebrating what we have achieved as a multi-cultural nation with a long history (and prehistory) of Aboriginal occupation, not trying to hide what happened to the First Australians; not denying that the Australian Dream was built at the expense, detriment, and great sorrow of the nation’s Indigenous peoples.
EVERY COLONIAL COUNTRY HAS A VIOLENT HISTORY.
WHITE AUSTRALIA HAS A BLACK HISTORY.
Thank you for asking. If you wanted to know more, here’s some information about Frontier Wars; massacres; human right violations; Aboriginal Resistance; and Invasion Day:
Blood on the Wattle: Massacres and Maltreatment of Aboriginal Australians Since 1788 by Bruce Elder
Why Weren’t We Told? by Henry Reynolds
Whitewash: On Keith Windschuttle’s Fabrication of Aboriginal History by Robert Manne
it always amuses me that countries during the late 18th century were going through all kinds of upheaval like you have america declaring independence and building their democracy and the french revolution yadda yadda birth of modern western democracy and the beginnings of industrialisation and the industrial revolution in england and shit
and then theres the white settlement in australia
which is just…
trying very fucking hard not to fucking starve and die
It’s finally the weekend! I’m eating a lot of junk food going over notes for an upcoming HSIE exam on Indigenous Australian history. (Yes, I’m using Crayola markers as highlighters, I don’t have any normal highlighters so Crayola markers it is). I reorganised my desk again, having a neat workspace is so satisfying.
(also, I have really been loving @nerdastically ‘s blog, I spend too much time scrolling through tumblr looking at other people studying)
January 26 is Australia Day. It is a day celebrated by white Australians and marks the anniversary of the first fleet to arrive on the shore of Sydney in 1788. In school, we learned a little about Aboriginal people, mostly during the 1900s such as the Stolen Generation, deaths in custody and the tent embassy. We did not learn about ANY of the massacres or genocides mentioned above.
January 26 should be a day in which we remember the original owners of this land and everything that they suffered emotionally, physically and culturally.
July 12th 1971: Australian Aboriginal Flag first flown
On this day in 1971, the Australian Aboriginal Flag was flown for the first time. Designed by Aboriginal artist Harold Thomas, the flag represents the unity and identity of indigenous Australians; the black half symbolises the Aboriginal people, the yellow circle the sun, and the red half the red earth which is central to indigenous religious ceremonies. It was debuted during the National Aborigines Day celebrations in Adelaide during the height of the indigenous campaign for land rights as an attempt to gain more visibility. While accepted as the flag of the unofficial Aboriginal ‘Tent Embassy’ in the capital city of Canberra in 1972, it was not proclaimed a ‘Flag of Australia’ until 1995. Before then, the flag remained a point of controversy, especially when Aboriginal sprinter Cathy Freeman carried both the Aboriginal and Australian national flag during a victory lap in the 1994 Commonwealth Games. By the 2000 Sydney Olympics, however, attitudes had changed and Freeman was praised for carrying the Aboriginal flag with pride. Some campaigners have called for the Aboriginal flag to replace the Union Jack in the upper-left corner of the current Australian flag to create a new national symbol, though Harold Thomas himself opposes this idea. Since 2002, as part of a wider effort at reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians, the Aboriginal flag has permanently flown in Victoria Square, Adelaide, where it debuted in 1971.
“This was my race and no one was going to stop me telling the world
how proud I was to be Aboriginal. Somewhere deep inside, I’d absorbed
all the pain and suffering my people had endured and turned it into a
source of strength” - Cathy Freeman
Nova Peris became the first Aboriginal Australian woman to win a Gold Medal as
part of the Australian Field Hockey Team, and later the first Aboriginal
woman to be elected to Australia’s Federal Parliament.
I’ve debated over the last few days with whether or not I would post this because I didn’t want to offend anyone. Then I realised that I’m sick of having to tip toe around everyone else to make sure they aren’t offended when I’ve been offended by this country my whole life. Don’t get me wrong I once had a great love for this country and in some ways I still do. I was once proud to call myself Australian. But I no longer feel that way. I don’t feel like an Australian…
I don’t feel like an Australian when I’m constantly questioned about where I’m from and people can’t accept Australia as being my place of origin because I don’t ‘look’ Australian.
I don’t feel like an Australian when Aboriginal people were made to feel like their culture was wrong and ugly yet it’s suddenly become a trend for non Aboriginal people to appropriate our culture without showing respect.
I don’t feel like an Australian when Australia fails to recognise its black history. My family’s history.
I don’t feel like an Australian when Australia Day is celebrated on the day of invasion. The day genocide of Aboriginal people started. The start of ‘breeding out the black’.
I don’t feel like an Australian when white is seen as the standard for Australians and every person of colour 'has to be from somewhere else’. No one questions where a white Australian is originally from.
I don’t feel like an Australian when destroying land for resources is seen as more important than sacred sites or preserving land and environment.
I don’t feel like an Australian when Australia treats refugees like they’re not worthy of life because they weren’t born here.
I don’t feel like an Australian when an Aboriginal woman speaks out about racism and white Australian responds with more racism and hate.
I’m with you Miranda Tapsell.
Australia, you should be ashamed.
(NOTE FOR ALL THE SOOKS: obviously #notallwhiteaustralians, just enough for it to be a problem)
January 26th 1788: First Fleet arrives in Australia
this day in 1788, the British First Fleet, led by Captain Arthur
Phillip, sailed into Port Jackson, Australia. The New South Wales region
of Australia had been ‘discovered’ by Captain James Cook in 1770, but
the first attempt to settle the area came a few years later. The Fleet
of 11 ships carried 1,500 convicts and settlers on the arduous, 252 day
journey from England. On January 26th they sailed into Port Jackson and
found it to be perfect conditions for settlement. Philip named the site
Sydney Cove after the British Home Secretary Lord Sydney. Port Jackson
is now Sydney Harbour, home to the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and
Opera House. Initial relations with indigenous people were amicable,
however, conflict soon began and there was increasing encroachment on
indigenous lands by European settlers. While this day is commonly
celebrated as Australia Day, it has also become symbolic of the adverse
affects of British colonisation on the native population; it is thus
also remembered as ‘Survival Day’ or 'Invasion Day’.
“How grand is the prospect which lies before this youthful nation!” - Arthur Phillip
On this day in 2008, the Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made a
formal apology to indigenous Australians, especially the Stolen Generations,
for years of mistreatment and oppression. The apology was passed
unanimously by both houses of the Australian Parliament and was one of
the first acts of the new Parliament. The apology was for the policies
of the Australian federal and state governments who had forcibly taken
children of indigenous Australians and Torres Strait Islanders away from their families - the Stolen Generations - in what was essentially an attempted cultural genocide. Rudd pledged to bridge the gap between indigenous
and non-indigenous Australians. Australia also commemorates an annual ‘Sorry Day’ on May 26th in an attempt to come to terms with the legacy of indigenous persecution.
“The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page, a new
page in Australia’s history by righting the wrongs of the past and so
moving forward with confidence to the future.”
On this day in 1788 the British First Fleet, led by Captain Arthur Phillip, sailed into Port Jackson, Australia. The New South Wales region of Australia had been ‘discovered’ by Captain James Cook in 1770 but the first attempt to settle the area came a few years later. The Fleet of 11 ships carried 1,500 convicts and settlers on the arduous, 252 day journey from England. On January 26th they sailed into Port Jackson and found it to be perfect conditions for settlement. Philip named the site Sydney Cove after the British Home Secretary Lord Sydney. Port Jackson is now Sydney Harbour, home to the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House. Initial relations with indigenous people were amicable, however conflict soon began and there was increasing encroachment on indigenous lands by European settlers. Whilst this day is commonly celebrated as Australia Day, it has also become symbolic of the adverse affects of British colonisation on the native population. It is thus also remembered as 'Survival Day’ or 'Invasion Day’.
“How grand is the prospect which lies before this youthful nation!” - The now Governor Phillip’s February 7th address
They have separated early from Asians, suggesting that they are either surviving descendants of settlers from an early migration out of Africa, commonly referred to as the Proto-Australoids, or that they are descendants of one of the founder populations of modern humans