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Changing Rights and Freedoms
Transcript of Changing Rights and Freedoms
The assimilation policy was introduced in the 1930's as a result of an increase in the number of 'mixed blood' people. It became evident that the Aboriginal people were not dying out as originally predicted. The assimilation policy sought to make Aboriginal Australians accept the way of life of white Australians.
By the 1960's the assimilation policy's idea to encourage Aboriginal people to abandon their culture, was challenged by Aboriginal leaders, the churches, the Labor Party and social humanitarian groups.
As a result of the 1965 Aboriginal Welfare Conference, the definition of assimilation was changed to 'all persons of Aboriginal descent will choose to attain a similar manner and standard of living to that of other Australians'.
Integration aimed at allowing Aboriginal culture and customs to co-exist with non-Aboriginal culture.
The policy of self-determination was introduced in 1972 by the Whitlam government dispelling the idea that Aboriginal Australians were no longer a 'dying race' that needed to be protected or assimilated.
Self-determination is the right for a nation or group of people to determine and control all aspects of their lives.
Essential elements to achieve self-determination include:
- secure ownership of land
- local community control of land
- local community control of services and community affairs
- genuine involvement in the creation of all government policies relating to Indigenous peoples.
The Australian Aborigines have lived in Australia for at least 50 000 years or more.
Indigenous Australians have a close relationship with the land, and through the land they maintain their links to ancestral Aboriginal spirits.
Traditional land is inextricably linked to the Dreaming.
Dreaming: involves legends about the past, how things were created and the laws to be followed.
Changing Rights and Freedoms
Where we are now:
Think, Pair, Share Task: KWHL Chart
Changing Government Policies Towards Aboriginal Peoples over time:
Why were these policies implemented?
Paternalism: Implementing regulations in order to manage a group in the manner of a father.
It was believed that their life would be 'improved' by Christianity, schooling and following the western ways.
In the nineteenth and some of the twentieth century the official policy towards Aboriginal Australians was called protectionism.
Authorities such as the police had the power to separate families, remove Aboriginal Australians from their traditional lands and to force them to live on reserves and missions.
White Australians accepted that these missions, usually controlled by the Christian churches, were a way of providing support for Aboriginal people.
Aboriginal culture, like so many other cultures, place great importance on children. In the security of the extended family, the elders are able to share feelings, values and language. It is through the land that Aboriginal children gain an understanding of their culture and their Dreaming, and learn the language of their ancestors.
The protection policy was effectively a policy of segregation (keeping people apart), and it resulted in more discrimination against Aboriginal people and control over them and also the creation of remote and isolated Aboriginal communities.
It was believed that children of 'mixed blood' were removed from their tribal influences it would be possible for them to become 'European'. The government believed they were doing right by the children however many did not know their real family. These children would later become known as the Stolen Generations.
As stated by the Australian Conference for Native Welfare in the 1950's "all Aborigines and part-Aborigines are expected to attain the same manner of living as other Australians".
Assimilation p. 283
This policy was based on the belief that the Aboriginal culture and way of life was inferior and failed to acknowledge the traditional lifestyle of Aboriginal people.
The policy of assimilation encouraged many Aboriginal people to give up this traditional lifestyle and move to towns and cities to find work and to seek a lifestyle that did not involve a protector or government official making decisions for them.
However assimilation did not give Aboriginal Australians the same rights as white Australians and Aboriginal people continued to encounter serious discrimination.
They found it difficult to find work because of racism, they encountered resistance in shops, entertainment venues and public places, and they were denied access to housing and health assistance. As a result, Aboriginal people were often placed in special housing areas or forced to live on the fringe of towns where facilities were poor. Aboriginal women married to white men often found themselves living in areas where neighbours did not want to associate with them because of their Aboriginality.