Usually I would not be inclined to write or even talk about this issue, but after living in an area where there was/is a high Indigenous population I feel semi qualified to make a few of my own observations.
Personally, I am SICK of the rubbish and the way they just keep wanting more more more… will they ever be happy? Not likely, or at least not in the foreseeable future.
How many times do we have to say Sorry, how much money do we have to throw at them before they get up and take responsibility for their own lives!
This is a hard topic to write well on and I hope that I have somehow managed to get my thoughts across in an appropriate way.
This was started a few days ago after reading the paper and seeing in the Letters section an uproar over (the day after) Australia Day and Aboriginals who caused problems with our Prime Minister on the day. I defend no one and my stance is independent. I follow no political agenda, blah blah blah…..
A quick view opinion in the same days paper : I’m not sorry anymore, just pissed off! (and yes, this is to do with the same topic). Wholeheartedly agree.
Where to start? Ok, for those that may not know, a basic history is that on January 26th 1788 the British sailed into Botany Bay with ships full of wonderful people,** declared it theirs and the ‘natives’ were put through all sorts of hell. According to them, it hasn’t stopped.
The Aboriginal argument covers the stolen generation, their stolen land and their ‘right’ to everything this country has to offer. After all they were the caretakers for hundreds of years before we arrived. In essence they want money and land, and lots of it.
This is a contentious issue no matter when, where or with whom you bring it up (a subject not to broach at a dinner party, adding to the taboo topics of politics, religion and sex.. but if an argument is what you want, then go for it!).
The letters cover a whole range of emotions, so I thought I’d share a few with my opinion thrown in with it. Where I use the term, (my term) ‘natives’, it is as a quick and short way of writing Aboriginal or Indigenous. I am not meaning to be rude, racist or disrespectful. Letters are copied verbatim with the important pieces included.
“…some comments regarding the violent dispossession of Aboriginal people echo the warped logic of dictators and mass murderers. If we accept the notion that it is somehow part of human nature to invade and kill other lands and people then we have no right to decry or oppose modern genocide and invasions…”
Essentially, this is true. How are we different to those dictators if this is how we treat our indigenous people. The difference being that what happened was 200+ years ago from people who knew no other way and saw themselves as kings of whichever island/country they landed on. The dispossession doesn’t happen now regardless of what some would have you think. There are enough troubled young and not so young ‘natives’ who cause plenty of trouble with no need of help from us.
“…. the Aboriginal community needs to come up with an alternative date, there is little point in complaining about Australia Day no matter how legitimate the complaint, unless they are prepared to offer an alternative. We are one nation after all, and we should celebrate as national day….”
This is a very valid point of which I have not heard anywhere else. The natives seem to like complaining about anything and everything we do but have rarely come up with a solution or compromise to settle the issue. It’s all our (white man’s) fault. Maybe there is a date that is special to them and we split the difference… (right, that actually sounds silly, but I think you get my drift) or find a completely neutral day well past the current Jan 26th. If we can all celebrate living here together on one day with no fear of riots or violence, the celebration is all the better for everyone.
…”Julia Gillard and the Australian people cannot be held accountable for the British invasion…..what have they (our British ancestors), or we, to apologise for. It’s like the asking the American Negroes to apologise to the American Indians…..The terrible acts inflicted on the Aboriginal people are long gone, unfortunately, cannot be punished for their actions….. should never have been allowed to happen…”
While I know nothing of the American Negroes vs Indians here, I agree that the past is the past and although terrible that it happened and we can only move forward and work on making sure it never happens or is allowed to happen again. Maybe we could set about harassing the British Government (not a good idea seeing as we are part of the Commonwealth and the Queen is our Head of State. The repercussions don’t bear thinking about) and ask them to apologise and set about repairing the damage they did all those years ago. Is that any different to what they are expecting us to do??
“….Aboriginal children, encouraged by elders, burn and spit on the Australian Flag, desecrating the symbol of our nation. If the Aboriginal flag was treated the same way, the Aboriginal community would be outraged and rightly so. The Aboriginals involved in this disgusting behaviours are not helping their case…..using children in this way is cowardly and encourages the next Aboriginal generation to be anti-social and isolated from the rest of the community…”
This one I can comment on from experience. Mt Isa, although a lovely place, has more than it’s share of natives and their delightful behaviour. Both hubby and I have worked closely with them and found that those who are willing, are extremely hard workers, friendly and have their own opinions on this topic. Then there are the others. The ones with a chip on their shoulder, who revel in what happened and have a dislike for anything ‘white’ except of course the house, the handouts etc. They wish to live in ‘civilised’ society, be part of the community but still want to ‘live’ like they are out bush. Happy to take what they can but desecrate everything that belongs to us. These give the rest a bad name and certainly do nothing for their cause of equality. Compassion is not in their genetics/vocabulary/thoughts and we are treated as outcasts in our own town. While waiting in emergency at the Hospital a few times, the natives that rocked up generally got admitted first, no matter who was in front of them. Then there is the unwritten rule that says they can say what they like to us, call us all the names under the sun but if we dare call them a ‘black fella’, ‘nigger’… then all hell breaks loose. They want equality but seem bent on destruction and ruining the future for their kids and themselves. Teaching and encouraging your kids to behave like that only ends in disaster one way or another.
Yeah, I’m sorry about what happened all those years ago. But, seriously, get over it. Start a future, work on a new life, teach your kids the traditional ways, teach them to us aswell. Send your kids to school. I believe the only way for full equality is to get rid of all mention of where you come from.* No asking whether your are Aboriginal/Torre Strait, no extra benefits just for that. Just about every form we have to fill in has that option as though there are extras to be gotten. There is Abstudy, cheaper housing, low-interest mortgages, the list goes on. The Asians, Indians, English, American, European etc etc…. everyone else is treated like an Australian, why can’t you be aswell?
“…Australia Day is to celebrate freedoms and privileges that all Australians enjoy….. misguided attempts to improve their lot, but these are not reasons to dwell on past wrongs. Now is the time to celebrate that white intervention in the modern era has improved the lives of many Aboriginals and for white Australians to recognise our original inhabitants…”
The first line says it all. ALL Australians. We are all privy to everything this country has to offer and those that want it can grab it and run. Those that dwell on the past seem happy to stay there and wallow in their own self-pity. But with this, comes a tendency to bring others down with them creating an attitude that carries on through the community and does nothing for the next generation, or our opinions towards them. (Our, being a very general term, used loosely).
Our intervention, while not always implemented well has certainly improved the lives of a majority of the natives and allowed them to have everything they could want. There are also many ways we can improve on what we are doing with them, but this will only work if both sides come to an agreement on what will work best for everyone. Having them in the community is fine, so long as they are prepared to reverse and delete their culture of excessive drinking and violence. If they wish to live and behave like neanderthals then they can go back to the bush. It’s really hard to help people who wont help themselves but expect a never-ending handout and then cry foul when it stops.
Education of the Aboriginal life needs to be in place in schools all over the country, not just in places where they are more prevalent (like Mt Isa). If more people know about their cultures, language, art work it would be easier for them to assimilate and for us to understand them.
There are ways and means of moving forward, but it takes to tango and we need everyone on board to be able to do this. Our Government (Past & present) have not always done much to help and the leaders of the Aboriginals are not in the head space to compromise to solve problems. They are still of the “our land, our way” mantra and until this stops then the ugly head will continue to rear.
That’s my soapbox over, exhausting as it was. I might leave posts like this alone for awhile…
** Their ships were full of the best society could offer. What? no, they were actually convicts. the worst society could offer. And many for petty crimes like stealing a loaf of bread, but that’s another story.
* I’m not saying we should forget, or ask them to forget where they come from, just make all forms of Govt money equal. We are all the same, equal. Just another number right?