There has been a significant impact of western systems and structures on aboriginal. We will discuss that in this blog, but before that, let’s clear some terminologies that are significant. Who are Aborigines? Well, Aborigines are Australia's indigenous people. If we go by the recent reports of the government statistics, it showed that there are about 400,000 aboriginal people approximately in Australia or we can say, for about 2% of Australia's total population. Log long back for about 30,000 years ago, Australian Aborigines migrated from somewhere in Asia. Most of the Australian Aboriginals are based in the mainland of Australia, including the major islands such as Tiwi Islands, Fraser Island, Tasmania, Hinchinbrook Island, and Groote Eylandt amongst many others. In this blog, I will be discussing how western society and culture has affected the aboriginal, impact of colonisation on aboriginal culture, the impact of European settlement on aboriginal family structure and much more. So, without further ado, let’s begin.
A Brief Introduction: Who are Aboriginal Australians?
To start with, let me tell you why the term Indigenous Australians is not only referred to address Aboriginal Australians, but also the Torres Strait Islander people. Often, the term is used when both groups are included in the topic being addressed or by self-identification by a person as Indigenous. Eventually, during the course of time, the term Aborigines has become politicised somehow, along with the deteriorating custom of using it in the past few decades. This is because many of these sects of people started considering it offensive "because it has racist connotations from Australia’s colonial past". Having said that! There are other people from the same troupe who don’t mind being called as Aborigine; because Aboriginal, as a term, has more discriminatory legal origins, directly. To be clearer as to what the term Aboriginal Australians refers to, it is basically directed to people who have developed across Australia for over 50,000 years. These people share a complex genetic history, but it is only in the last two hundred years that they have been identified as a single group, socio-politically. It is also to be noted here that the definition of the term Aboriginal has changed over time and place, with the importance of family lineage, self-identification and community acceptance all being of varying importance.
How Western Society and Culture Affected Aboriginal?
There is no denying the fact that prior to British settlement, more than 500 Indigenous groups inhabited the Australian continent, approximately 750,000 people in total. Also, the cultural development of Aboriginals happened for about 60,000 years, making Indigenous Australians the custodians of the world’s most ancient living culture. In addition to this, each Indigenous group used to live in a close connection with their land.
This is how colonisation affected Australian Aborigines Culture-
The colonisation of Australia had a drastic impact on Australian Aborigines. Western society and culture affected Aboriginal, and if the statistics are to be believed, the populace was reduced by 90%. There are many reasons that made this sensational decay in a population happen.
- Firstly, there are many new diseases spread in Australia during that time, such as measles, smallpox, and flu. Because of this, a huge section of the indigenous people was affected. Governor Arthur Phillip announced that smallpox had killed about 50% Indigenous people in Sydney within 14 months of its First Fleet.
- Secondly, Indigenous lands were procured.
- Thirdly, there was a brutal clash between colonists and Aboriginal people.
This was the impact of colonisation on aboriginal culture-
Due to the expansion of British settlements, there was the erection of colonies in the areas inclusive of Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania), Adelaide, Moreton Bay (Brisbane) and Port Phillip (Melbourne). No, this again drastically affected the indigenous people and eventually, completion over land and resources started, which soon took a violent turn. It is from the initiation of colonisation, and Aboriginal people continually resisted the violation of their right to land, and its impact on their culture and community. Due to this dark period of colonial violence, it is reported that 20,000 Aboriginal people were killed. Out of these 20,000 deaths, 2000- 2,500 settler deaths resulted from frontier conflict, which took place during that same time.
Aboriginal Development Commission, 1983
The Aboriginal Development Commission surveyed in June 1983, in which it was identified that for over 6003 Aborigines were found on the waiting list to get housing organisation. In addition to this, a surplus of 2000 houses was about to house fringe-dwellers. Below are some of the identifications that were highlighted during this time:
- According to the census report of the year 1981, it was reported that over 12.5% of Aborigines never went to school.
- It was also identified that the unemployment rate of Aboriginals was three times more than that of those who were non- Aborigines.
- Even the average life expectancy rate of the Australian Aboriginals is way lesser than that of the average life of the other Australian habitants.
- In addition to all above, the crime rate of Australian Aborigines is more on accounts of the rate of imprisonment and conviction.
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- How Western Society And Culture Has Affected Aboriginal?
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- What is the importance of Aboriginal culture?
- How can you develop effective relationships with indigenous communities?
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