Throughout History, the real sons of the soil,The Aborigines of the World(the word was coined to indicate
‘ A member of the indigenous or earliest known population of a region; a native’.) were the victims of the Colonial powers right from the Spanish.
Indigenous Australians - Aboriginal (Photo credit: azfar ahmad | thepatahtumbuh)
In their quest for resources and markets for their Produce, these powers.Great Briratin,Spain,France, went about in a systematic way to root out the Natives of the Land.
This,they ensured by luring the Natives by Money,Wiping out their language,making them feel that their Culture is inferior.
Even to-day India fells it.
The British were the past masters of this art.
They divided the country ,especially India, by destroying the Cultural Institutions,attempted to kill the local languages with the introduction of English as the official Language,under the guise of introducing the World to the Natives.
This was complemented by the Proselytising Missionaries, who promised wealth and Salvation, denigrating Native Religions.
In fact this activity still goes on unchecked.
Al-Jazeera has scheduled a Programme to cover this aspect with reference to day’s Aborigines.
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Let us know what we were and where have we have come from.
Living the Language can be seen on Al Jazeera English each week at the following times GMT: Tuesday: 2230; Wednesday: 0930; Thursday: 0330;Friday: 1630; Saturday: 2230; Sunday: 0930; Monday: 0330
- Australia: The Aboriginal People - from April 17
- Guatemala: The Maya – from April 24
- Canada: The Ktunaxa – from May 01
- Bolivia: The Aymara – from May 08
- New Zealand: The Maori – from May 15
- Over the Airwaves – from May 22″
Now the few remaining indigenous languages are in danger of dying out in the coming years. The struggle to preserve them often rests with a few dedicated individuals striving to not only re-learn the language of their ancestors, but to also teach it to others.Michael Jarrett, who teaches the Gumbaynggirr
language spoken on the coast of New South Wales, says: “When I was growing up, the Aboriginal people were forbidden to speak their language. So I didn’t get to hear fluent speakers talking together. But the land is starting to hear the native tongue again. The Gumbaynggirr language belongs in Gumbaynggirr territory. It hasn’t heard the language for many, many years.
The government of Australia has a very poor record when it comes to treatment of its Aboriginal citizens. Indigenous Australians were dispossessed of their land, despised for their culture, and marginalized, abused, and murdered. Perhaps most notorious of all the Australian policies were those that led to what has become known as the Stolen Generations. Under several federal and state programs that continued into the 1970s, the government forcibly removed Aboriginal children from their families and sent them to white families and church-run institutions for cultural reprogramming. A recent national report on the policies found that there was not a single Indigenous family that did not have at least one child taken away. Despite the deliberate genocidal nature of these programs, the government for many years refused to apologize for them. That same hostile attitude toward Aboriginal peoples was reflected in the Australian government’s long and vigorous opposition to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Fortunately, there have been improvements in the past couple of years. A change in administration led to a national apology from the government for the Stolen Generations, and the country as a whole celebrates Sorry Day. The new administration also reversed the country’s opposition to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. But there is still along way to go. Indigenous peoples on average live 17 years less than non-Indigenous people, and every measure of social and physical welfare, from infant mortality to nutrition to health, housing, education, and employment, is significantly lower for Aboriginal Australians than for non-Indigenous Australians. And all of the negative markers for disenfranchised populations—imprisonment, domestic violence, alcoholism—are much higher for Aboriginal peoples. An Aboriginal man is 13 times as likely to be in jail as a non-Indigenous Australian, and an Indigenous teenager is 28 times more likely to be in jail.
The government is making efforts to address some of these imbalances, but their handling of child abuse in Indigenous communities demonstrates how far they have to go. They enacted a set of programs that essentially let the government take control of Indigenous communities and undermined their land rights. That situation reflects a larger problem: even where there are government programs aimed at addressing the injustices and issues facing Indigenous people, there is far too little involvement of Aboriginal Australians in setting up or implementing policies.
Indigenous groups in Australia are increasingly well organized and successful. They have in recent years made some impressive gains in land claims, but the process of claiming land rights and the legal framework in which it operates still strongly favors the state and creates unnecessary hurdles for Indigenous Peoples. Most original Indigenous land has not been restored yet.
The problems facing Indigenous Australians are similar to those of Indigenous Peoples around the world, and Cultural Survival was founded 40 years ago to address those problems. To see a list of Cultural Survival archival articles about Aboriginal Australia, click here. To learn more about Indigenous issues around the world and what you can do to help, go to our home page here.