Acknowledgement of “Country” or just a small portion of it?

OK, I’m going to go into one of the areas where I am considered “right wing” but, to be honest, I think this is something that needs to be discussed.

I’ve mentioned in my comments before a pet peeve of mine in regards to what our school does before every assembly, presentation, and open school day. And that is an “acknowledgement of the country’s original owners, and to indigenous elders both past & present”. I honestly thought, given the indigenous background of some teachers at the school, that it was a localized thing. However, “The Missus” brought to my attention the fact that this “acknowledgement” is mandatory not only for schools but for all “public events” now, including “St Patrick’s Day”.

Apparently this is meant to encourage closer relations between indigenous & non-indigenous Australians. I cannot for the live of me see how! We get at most two days per year to acknowledge the sacrifice our Australian soldiers have made in protecting Australia from external threats. We have none at all for those that worked on the “Snowy Mountains Scheme”, providing water & clean(ish) power for millions as well as bringing in the ancestors of our current multi-cultural society. And they are getting an “acknowledgement” every-time my child gets an award for hard work at school, every-time there is public ceremony opened by a government official, and (for crying out loud) for a celebration of an Irish holiday. That’s right, we’re acknowledging the indigenous elders alive, dead, and otherwise when celebrating the Irish!

Now, I am not racist (which is often the call when this type of subject is brought up). I think an indigenous person is just as important, valuable, smart, & capable a person as anyone else. I have no big quibbles about the extra money they get for AbStudy & so on they get from the federal government, as I have seen the situation alot of them live in. They are human beings, just like the rest of us and any help to get them out of these conditions is a good thing.

On the other hand, “acknowledging” them at the opening of an envelope is not helping them in anyway, nor is it (in my mind) fostering good relations between them & us. Treating them as if they are special (and making it a mandatory speech heard by our young children) will breed resentment. Currently I am annoyed at this celebrity style treatment of the indigenous people where there is simply no connection between them and what is occurring. They have no input whatsoever on the hard work my child puts into his education, and yet it is compulsory for him to hear a fawning speech about them before being given his acknowledgement. Right now, the target of my ire is the bureaucrats/politicians that made this mandatory. However, it won’t take long for this to spill over to the people being talked about, and I bet you pounds to peanuts most people annoyed by this skip the “rule makers” and direct their anger toward the subject matter… you know, the people this is meant to be foster good relations with!

What are other people’s thoughts on this? Am I alone in this feeling that in going to far, the government is going to cause resentment where there was none and move “acceptance” further away for those that already had bad feelings in this?

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151 Responses

  1. I’m not sure that it’s the government’s fault, or for that matter, a government initiative. I always thought it was an individual preference, and if poeple want to show their respects then I don’t have an issue with it.

    At school we had to sing God Save The Queen on a daily basis. Now that, I did have a issue with.

    As a second thought, Indigenous people have a different attitude (and respect) to land than non-Indigenous people. I would rather see people gain an acceptance of this culture. In our opinions we own land. To Indigenous people, the land owns them. It’s complex, I admit.

    I’m interested though in your comment “the extra money they get for Abstudy and so on.” I’ve been invloved in funding or welfare for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people for over 10 years. Statistics from the ABS reveal that on average an Indigenous person receives a whole two dollars a year more in government support compared to a non-Indigenous Australian (pers com ATO). This ‘huge’ difference is only because of costs associated with the remotes of some locations in which Aborigines live.

    And what’s wrong with Abstudy? If there wasn’t Abstudy they would receive Austudy. Would you have a problem with them receiving Austudy?

  2. This sounds like the kinda backdoor “anti-political correctness” BS the Murdoch media, old Packer media, Howeirdians & shock jocks like to put out there to stir up sh*t. It’s also anti-big government claptrap.

    I sometimes wonder who is funding this blog.

    If you continue to RESPECT the Aborigines and their special kinship to this land…that goes back many many many generations…then future generations in this country might not be defending themselves from an UPRISING in the future. The massacred many have quite alot to be pissed off about…as they did in Sth Africa & Zimbabwe. It doesn’t take much to HEAL those wounds & recognise their

    “Treating them as if they are special (and making it a mandatory speech heard by our young children) will breed resentment.”

    Whoa!!!, what a BIG DEAL it must be for kids to have to listen to a few moments of ACKNOWLEDGEMENT of the First People?…unlike all the war & fast food promotion they are hammered w/ day in & day out.

    Gimme a break!
    N’

  3. I see nothing wrong in the acknowledgement of the traditional custodians of the land, and from what I gather it is an aboriginal tradition for any person on anothers land to issue the acknowledgement.

    Whenever I make a speech (for AI or in other “usual suspects” gathering), I lead with the acknowledgement – but I do not expect nor demand that others do it.

    And that is part of the point that Daffy is making (I fink).

    And so making it mandatory is not right. It should be a choice.

    I mentioned on the weekend about the Tiwi Island grand final and how I found the singing of the national anthem so moving.

    I guess it is all about respect for each other.

  4. “I sometimes wonder who is funding this blog.”

    So do I. If you find them, please give them my bank account details.

  5. Me too..can I pay you in meatballs?

    (for those who don’t watch daggy movies, it’s from The Wedding Singer).

  6. I mentioned on the weekend about the Tiwi Island grand final and how I found the singing of the national anthem so moving.

    “Up There Cazaly” is the national anthem?

    😯

  7. Tol re: I have no big quibbles about the extra money they get for AbStudy..

    This is an urban myth, indigenous kids get no extra money than Austudy. Perhaps they should hey.

  8. Actually, this was kind of the response I was expecting.

    Firstly, it is not individual preference. It is mandatory for schools to make said acknowledgement. They call it an “acknowledgement of country” – a term that implies something different to the instructions they lay out on doing it; which make it an “acknowledgement of indigenous people past & present”. A quote from the details as applied to schools is as follows:

    An “Acknowledgement of Country” is a way that all people can show respect for Aboriginal culture and heritage and the ongoing relationship the Traditional Custodians have with the Land.

    I understand and respect the indigenous people have a different attitude to the land. Then again, Tony Abbott has a different attitude to me on abortion & contraceptives. I don’t see how being forced to acknowledge past & present indigenous people in public schools is any different than being forced to say a Christian prayer in the same circumstances. If one is not allowed, why is the other?

    The issue for me is not the “choice” made by my school (as I believe they would make such a choice if only to keep the active certain teachers happy), but the fact that ALL NSW schools (at the very least) need to do this.

    I have no major hassles with AbStudy either. Just as I have no major hassles with unemployement benefits, disability pension, etc. I think there are ways in which all of these could be better targetted & managed, but I think everyone has those thoughts.

    The issue isn’t about AbStudy or their benefits. That only marginally affects me & my children (basically through a small increase in tax expenditure – something I’m not worried about). The issue is that school children (and their parents should they be attending the presentation, assembly, etc) must listen to a small speech elevating indigenous people above the rest of us. Instead of trying to help them fit in, it is now mandatory to make them separate from the “rest of us”.

  9. I’m in favour of the “acknowledgment of country at public events. It is a particularly healthy activity for children. Respect for heritage is an appropriate value to pass on.

    Having said that I have to point out that I find this type of comment offensive –

    Nasking – “This sounds like the kinda backdoor “anti-political correctness” BS the Murdoch media, old Packer media, Howeirdians & shock jocks like to put out there to stir up sh*t. It’s also anti-big government claptrap.
    I sometimes wonder who is funding this blog.”

    Is this guy for real? Is he a troll that makes offensive comments for the sake of it? Or just a dill?

  10. Miglo, you might be interested in this story (on youtube) :

    History of Tiwi Football – Footy on the Tiwi Islands

  11. Tol. I would like you to do a comparison test. Name 5 American Native tribes..go for it..it’s Sioux, Shawnee, Cheyenne, Apache, Cherokee, Shawnee. I am certain that you could add extras.

    Now try doing the same for the Australian Native Tribes. How many can you name? Why are we so ignorant about our own people.

  12. @joni:
    Yes, you are correct. It is not so much people wanting to make an acknowledgement. It is the fact that the acknowledgement is mandatory and that it must be done regardless of what the event may be.

    When opening parliament, should the Speaker of the House or government wish to acknowledge the original owners of the land – good on them. Should a school teacher wish to do so at an assembly or the school body chooses to do so – again, all good. Hell, should the Irish wish to do so for St Patrick’s Day – go for it.

    My issue is that there is no choice involved and it applies to all “public events” opened by a public employee and/or politician.

    Let me turn it around, if they made it mandatory for a Christian or Muslim prayer to be made before every assembly in every school across the state – how would you react?

  13. That’s easy Min. We know the American names because of Hollywood ‘westerns’. Nothing more sinister than that.

  14. Well Tol..that’s a particularly onerous task, fancy having to have to suffer through a small speech.

    The issue is that school children (and their parents should they be attending the presentation, assembly, etc) must listen to a small speech elevating indigenous people above the rest of us. Instead of trying to help them fit in, it is now mandatory to make them separate from the “rest of us”.

    Which compares with:

    I love God and my Country
    I salute the flag
    I will serve the Queen and cheerfully obey my teachers, parents and the law.

  15. To me the acknowledgment thing is a nice gesture, but personnally I’d rather see a lot more done to help indigenous Australians get out of the poverty, booze and drugs endless cycle.

    We must be one of the very few developed nations on the face of the Earth that treats its indigenous people with great dis-interest, except for symbolic gestures like the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, or recognition of original owners at fancy events etc. In other words, when it suits white people.

    Only to then ignore their plight for the rest of the year.

    I for one, haven’t got a clue about aboriginal culture, and perhaps that’s one of the reasons that they remain downtrodden and side-stepped.

    There is a very real and wide-spread ignorance of aboriginal culture, and this was proactively perpetuated under Howard.

    For one of, if not THE oldest living cultures to exist on the planet to be regarded with such contempt and disdain by the rest of Australia is nothing less than an abomination.

    And the 60 second recognition of the “original landowners” is nothing less than tokenistic.

    One may as well piss on the snow.

  16. @Min:
    Well, that is you. I could only name Apache & Sioux. Both of them from cowboy movies I watched as a child. Also – I can name he tribes for places I have lived throughout my life: Awabagal, Dharug, Darkinung, & Kuring-gai. I’m sure there are probably more (Aboriginal tribes were alot smaller and less close-knit than the Native American tribes), but I am not ignorant of them.

    Your reaction to this thread seems to be aimed at a misconception. I have nothing against the indigenous tribes of Australia past, present, or future. I just don’t think they are better than non-indigenous people. Don’t make this about them – it isn’t about them, it’s about the rules that make elevate them above the rest of the nation.

    As I mentioned elsewhere, imagine the rules were enforcing a prayer for a religion not shared by all (or even most) the people at the person questioning the rule is racist.

  17. Which compares with:

    I love God and my Country
    I salute the flag
    I will serve the Queen and cheerfully obey my teachers, parents and the law.

    And yet you mentioned how you hated singing God Save the Queen… why the vehemence about my position whilst holding a similar one for a different target?

  18. “The issue is that school children (and their parents should they be attending the presentation, assembly, etc) must listen to a small speech elevating indigenous people above the rest of us.”

    lol…wouldn’t that be a RARITY.

    Tho I acknowledge some half-decent efforts at RECONCILLIATION by a number of fine Labor PMs & even the occasional Lib w/ “respect” & “dignity” on their minds.

    “Having said that I have to point out that I find this type of comment offensive”

    Tom, I bet you’d find the following comment I posted on RTS offensive too:

    nasking Says:
    November 20th, 2006 at 10:06 pm
    S’ & I have had an intense, long-winded, fruitful discussion tonight…this thread has been so valuable…so RIGHT ON!

    We’re going w/ the Rudd & Gillard team. Must have: Lindsay Tanner, Tanya Plibersek, Penny Wong, Nicola Roxon, Peter Garrett, Tony Bourke…
    Time for a change.
    Let’s give it a go.

    Trolling down the highway…
    8)

    BTW, I’m not trying to offend ya joni & reb…but ya did evolve outa the News Ltd based Blogocracy. Tho you happened to pick Tim Dunlop’s blog, the BEST of the bunch by a light year or so. Was just wondering. I’m quite willing to send you a wee donation if you are cash strapped. I’d like to think yer INDEPENDENT.
    N’

  19. Tony, on March 25th, 2009 at 2:25 pm Said:
    That’s easy Min. We know the American names because of Hollywood ‘westerns’. Nothing more sinister than that.

    Yet how sad that we know so little about our own people. Whereas while we know that Apache were plains people and that there were the American pueblo people living in adobe houses…we cannot name yet one Aboriginal tribe much less identify who were plains people, those who were fishermen, those who cultivated plots.

  20. “I’m quite willing to send you a wee donation if you are cash strapped.”

    Brainless trolling chatter, I haven’t heard the tins rattling.

    You’re welcome to barrack for the ALP. Have you made any real commitment to them or do you just shout from the sidelines? A mindless barracker I’d guess.

  21. Tol: re And yet you mentioned how you hated singing God Save the Queen.

    I think that you might have got me mixed up with somebody else. I have never said that I hated singing God Save’. In fact I spent 13 years singing God Save, being in the choir for Glenferrie Primary and later in the choir at Canterbury Girls’ High.

    I don’t actually understand why you call my opinion ‘vehemence’…all I said that it would be good if Australian children knew as much about our Native Australian tribes as is common knowledge about Native American tribes. The evidence being how most Australians cannot name but one Australian tribe but can name native American tribes. As pointed out, due to the movies, but this isn’t an excuse for our ignorance.

  22. we cannot name yet one Aboriginal tribe much less identify who were plains people, those who were fishermen, those who cultivated plots.

    True Min. I know of only Koori and Murri, and, without googling, I’m not even sure those are tribes.

  23. Nasking,

    No offence taken. 🙂

    I’m afraid that joni and I don’t get one red cent.

    Which really makes me wonder why TF do we bother doing it? So yes any donation would be gratefully appreciated. Donations over $50 are tax deductible and we’re also open to cash for comment.

    $5000 gets us to endorse anything you like and fifty grand gets you the entire blog while joni and I drive off in new cars.

    We’ve been thinking about having advertising on the site to earn a quid, but I’d want it restricted to tasteful stuff – like banner ads for porn sites, amyl nitrate and escorts…that sort of thing…

    MODERATOR: Would you mind getting back on topic please?

  24. Yet how sad that we know so little about our own people. Whereas while we know that Apache were plains people and that there were the American pueblo people living in adobe houses…we cannot name yet one Aboriginal tribe much less identify who were plains people, those who were fishermen, those who cultivated plots.

    Are you ignoring my posts? I named a few of the tribes that were native to areas I lived. I’m sure there were more than just those tribes there, but they were the ones I learnt about.

    For the record, I have no idea about what type of people the Apache were. None, zero, zip. In fact, were I to go by what little of them I’ve seen presented (in movies) I could only tell you they wore feather hats, rode horses, and screamed wildly while cutting down hard working cowboys & their families. In other words, outright fiction.

  25. Sorry Min, I’ve been getting you mixed up with Miglo. My mistake. That said, what would your thoughts be about forcing children to listen to a Catholic prayer at every assembly? I know if any publicly employed principal tried it, the Dept of Education would turf them quick smart. Private schools are, of course, a separate matter not being discussed here.

  26. I am you are we are Australian……… I am against specific reference to any race in our multicultural society. I am not against specific help where it is identified as helpful to a race specific problem.

  27. Tol. I have to own up. My grandie is 1/4 TSI.

  28. I find that every time the Indigenous people of this country are provided w/ an opportunity to feel some respect…and the children & adults who know the tough history are given an opportunity to feel LIGHT in their hearts, the media use that opportunity to whack the Aboriginal people over the head & try to divide the public.

    “One may as well piss on the snow.”

    Have you aked them how they feel about it reb? And the building of affordable homes that the Rudd government is prioritising? Was Rudd’s speech just a urination into snow?

    In some ways the champ of Whac-A-Mole could be seen as representing some in the media…& the heads bobbing up are the Indigenous respect opportunities:

    N’

  29. Tol..no problems. I think that we Australians should be far better educated as a matter of our history – that token gestures such a thank you for Country can help because it’s different to how we from English backgrounds perceive Country. That the land is not just a plot of land to be carved up for residential developments.

    Also no problems getting me mixed up with Miglo..except where our footy teams the topic.

  30. Sorry Min, I’ve been getting you mixed up with Miglo.

    Whoa. What an insult to Min. Was your mouth out Tol and sing God Save The Queen in Apache.

  31. PS – Then post it on YouTube.

  32. “That said, what would your thoughts be about forcing children to listen to a Catholic prayer at every assembly?”

    And considering the public moneys religious private schools receive then perhaps that question should be asked of them? And the Departments.

    What about students who feel compelled to have to listen to politicians and war vets? Personally, I don’t mind…but some of the anti-warrers & sick of politics at heart families might not be too keen.

    And what about students being handed diaries w/ meat-related ads on them…if they’re vegan or vegetarian?

    “So yes any donation would be gratefully appreciated. ”

    Send me an email & I’ll send ya a wee donation this arvo. Good to hear yer just a bunch of mavericks doing yer own thing.

    Yes Moderator, we’ll get back on topic. You all-seeing eye you.
    N’

  33. @Min:
    I think a “real” acknowledgement of country would be a good thing. One could include acknowledging the previous “owners of the land”, perhaps naming the tribes that once did own the area in which the event is taking place, and then acknowledging the current owners that have come from all over the world to make our nation as great as it is.

    I’m sure with a little effort, someone could take the above concept and make it more moving. The point is that it would then be “inclusive” of the current non-indigenous population of Australia. By excluding all but the indigenous people – the speeches exclude over 97% of the population.

  34. Thanks Tony. I had a 2 second peep and I’ll watch it intently at home tonight. However, I might fast forward the bits that had a team in Richmond jumpers.

    God save the queen.

  35. AN acknowledgement of the country’s original owners, and to indigenous elders both past & present seems to be widespread. A quick Google identifies The University of the Sunshine Coast, The Queensland University of Technology, The University of Melbourne, The University of Newcastle and many more university establishments. One could hazard a guess and say used by ‘all’, and on a very regular basis.

    It is also used by many local governments. The City of Wagga Wagga for example, has a policy which states:

    This policy applies to all events and meetings which constitute a public function of the Council.

    Generally, the ‘education community supports such ceremonies and here NSW is not trailing:

    The New South Wales Department of Education and Training, the New South Wales Aboriginal Education Consultative Group Inc. (NSW AECG Inc.) and the New South Wales Teachers Federation in collaboration, are committed to a partnership in Aboriginal education.

    As part of this commitment we present to you protocols to be used in all State and Regional events in NSW public schools, TAFE NSW Institutes and Campuses.

    The policy says “all ‘State’ and ‘Regional events. Not sure the policy is supposed to apply to all ‘school’ events but I am sure a quick phone call to the Department in question would sort that out. Then again the ‘policy’ might be simply a school policy.

    I know here in Queensland, it’s widespread and I understand why it’s used.

    Always good to understand and acknowledge our heritage.

  36. Nasking:

    “Send me an email & I’ll send ya a wee donation this arvo…”

    A bottle of bevvy would also be sufficient..

    Miglo keeps promising to send numerous bottles of shiraz, but it never arrives. Miserable c**t.

  37. Miglo, I’m not certain which tribe were the tradional owners of the Richmond area, but there is an old picture of them hanging up at Punt Road. In it they are wearing their traditional war paint – a diagonal yellow sash across their torso, and the chief had what looked like the number 17 on his back. Go Tiges!

  38. Tol: my kids loved it. In our area it’s the Bundjalung and the Aunties came to the school and told the kids the stories about why Mt Warning is a sacred site.

    Perhaps we might learn something if our minds weren’t so closed, for example Bundjalung legend says that a ship arrived from Ngareenbeil, with 3 men : Mamoon, Ya Birrein and Birrung, and grandmother Gaminya. These are all Old Balinese names, from Sanskrit._ Dr Darma Putra, School of Languages, UQld.

    Is this, our Australian heritage inclusive or exclusive?

  39. Reb, would a cask do?

  40. Not sure the policy is supposed to apply to all ’school’ events but I am sure a quick phone call to the Department in question would sort that out

    It is, though it’s compulsory nature is a relatively new thing. It used to be “encouraged” it is now “mandatory”. No hassles with it being “encouraged”, but making a thing that talks about only a small percentage of our nation mandatory rubs me the wrong way.

    As I said, making it inclusive would remove all my objections to the matter. Australia is now much more than just it’s indigenous people. We need to acknowledge that fact as well.

  41. Migs..I’ve already offered reb meatballs.

  42. Tony, the word ‘tribe’ is a no-no. As a word and as a meaning it was composed by white, ethnocentric anthropologists and some Aborigines resent it. I know that Queenslanders have no problem with the word, but South Australian Aborigines hate it.

    An acceptable word among many Aborigines – believe it or not – is mob. “Who’s yor mob?” etc.

    If you want to be politically correct the labels ‘language group’ or ‘nation’ are quite popular these days.

    My mob is Port Adelaide.

    God save Port Adelaide.

  43. “the speeches exclude over 97% of the population.”

    Somewhat like the usual Lib chest puffing speech…given to less than 3% of the population…time and time again…but the top-end-of-town BIZees & religious quackanauts are usually appreciative…
    🙂

    “Miglo keeps promising to send numerous bottles of shiraz, but it never arrives.”

    I’m sure he has good intentions…probably gets exhausted by the walk to the post office and requires a refresher on the way…suffice to say the cost of sending an empty bottle just ain’t worth it…eh Migs?

    N’

  44. know of only Koori and Murri, and, without googling, I’m not even sure those are tribes

    TOSY, Murri is often to refer to Aboriginal people across Australia but strictly speaking should only be applied to certain groups in Queensland.

    Koori can be applied correctly to groups that occupied parts of NSW and Victoria.

    There are other names such as ‘noongar’ which could be used to describe groups in WA but is not widely used.

    .

  45. “Would a cask do?”

    Get thee behind me Satan…!

  46. Question.

    Is “Aborigines” or “Aboriginals” the correct term?

    I’ve always used the latter, cos it just sounds a bit more respectful…

  47. Nature 5. Good point. The Aboriginal name of a group or a mob is of course the preferred term, eg Anangu in the Pitjantjatjara Lands of Yura in the Adnamathanha Lands.

    But who would know this?

  48. Question.

    Is ‘Tasmanians’ or ‘Taswegians’ the correct trem?

  49. “Anangu in the Pitjantjatjara Lands of Yura in the Adnamathanha Lands.

    But who would know this?”

    Not me.

    But if you sing it,

    I’ll hum it…

  50. I’m not sure which is the correct ‘trem’ but I usually run with Tasmanians, as Taswegians reminds me too much of Glasgow..

    And the less said about Glasgow the better…

  51. Thank you Migs. Am thinking that this started out re kangaroos, it’s a mob and so this is perfectly acceptable.

    Can I pick your brain (gently). In America there are Indian nations. Why are there no Aboriginal nations?

    I could go back and talk about Terra Nullis, the country that nobody owned because the English did not understand a country that didn’t have neatly plowed fields.

    Answering my own question, No Treaty because you cannot have a treaty unless it is between one nation and another and the Aboriginal people according to white categorisation are not a nation. Thought to add this one in just in case people didn’t realise the importance of A Treaty (ie it can’t happen because the Aboriginal people do not have the status of a nation of people which compares with the native American indigenous peoples). I will stand correct Miglo if I have got it wrong.

  52. Min, you are not wrong.

  53. Tony, the word ‘tribe’ is a no-no. As a word and as a meaning it was composed by white, ethnocentric anthropologists and some Aborigines resent it.

    Thanks for the Tip Migs.

    It makes you wonder, though, why they would reject one English word – tribe – meaning “A unit of sociopolitical organization consisting of a number of families, clans, or other groups who share a common ancestry and culture and among whom leadership is typically neither formalized nor permanent” and choose instead another English word – mob – meaning “A large disorderly crowd or throng”.

    Then someone like me, although trying to be accurate innocently chooses the ‘wrong’ word, is seen as giving offence.

  54. Reb, I use either but some Aborigines hate the words Aboriginal or Indigenous.

    I have always used the wrong one. I never win.

  55. Tony, the English interpretation of ‘mob’ is different to the Aboriginal meaning.

    You looked up the English meaning.

    God save Richmond.

  56. reb, on March 25th, 2009 at 3:30 pm Said:

    Is “Aborigines” or “Aboriginals” the correct term?

    Both! But ‘Aborigin’ is the noun and ‘Aboriginal’ is the adjective.

    So Aborigines are Aboriginal people.

  57. Reb..this is just for you (completely off topic and with the Moderators approval of course) Don’t you just hate it when the Moderators go off topic :-))

    Hugs..

  58. Should by ‘Aborigine’ is the noun and ‘Aboriginal’ is the adjective.

  59. I went out with a aboriginal guy from the NT a few years ago and I referred to him as being koori – and gee, wasn’t I put in my place.

  60. “As I said, making it inclusive would remove all my objections to the matter. Australia is now much more than just it’s indigenous people. We need to acknowledge that fact as well.”

    It seems to me that we acknowledge that fact by way of so many other symbols…flag, prayers in parliament and so on. Tho the Chinese efforts don’t get much of a look-in:

    THE CHINESE IN AUSTRALIA:
    A context and introduction to material on the Chinese Heritage of Australian Federation website

    Chinese traders were visiting the north coast of Australia from 1750s, probably earlier. After the British settlement of Australia (1788) small numbers of Chinese men arrived as indentured labourers, convicts and free settlers.

    However the numbers of Chinese immigrants to Australia did not really become significant till the Victorian (1850s) and New South Wales (1860s) gold rushes. Most Chinese arrivals came from impoverished areas in southern China, particularly the provinces around Canton. Pushed by environmental, economic and political difficulties in China and pulled by the lure of gold, many who arrived went into debt to pay their passage under a ‘credit ticket’ system.

    From the first Victorian goldrushes onwards the number of Chinese people in Australia quickly reached approximently 50,000. This was maintained up until federation although proportion in each colony varied according to goldrush and other economic opportunities.

    Chinatowns and benevolent societies often based on clan or district ties quickly developed across Australia to support the Chinese population.

    As gold and other minerals were discovered in Queensland, Northern Territory and north-east Tasmania Chinese miners followed. Along with the miners came Chinese entrepreneurs who helped provide goods and services for the emerging Chinese population.

    As mining became less profitable Chinese miners then became increasingly involved in and successful at market gardening, storekeeping (including importing and exporting), furniture making, the growing and wholesaling of bananas, fishing and the pearl diving industry. The contribution of Chinese labour to Australia’s development was particularly significant in the Northern Territory and north Queensland area.

    (excepts from Asian Studies Program
    Chinese Australia
    Brief History of the Chinese in Australia. La Trobe Uni)

    N’

  61. Thank you Min.

    That brought back memories……

  62. Re grandie..

    She is the most gorgeous little person that you can imagine with the most huge, gigantic eyes..currently somewhere between green and brown.

    And at only 3+ months is already rolling over and starting to crawl…awww, so cute. Received such beautiful photos, all dressed in pink with fairy wings.

    Oh did I mention, she is 1/4 TSI.

  63. Thank you N’. Spot on. This is why Howard’s Citizenship test was historically incorrect. The citizenship test stated that the Chinese were hated because they ‘took jobs’. Wrong. The Chinese were in fact considered a good catch by English and Irish women as they were hard workers and as you say established market gardens, and so were good providers.

    The evidence is the Pioneers Index for births, deaths & marriages Victoria. Hundreds of Chinese, white marriages. The prejudice against the Chinese did not occur until the 1880’s.

  64. “The evidence is the Pioneers Index for births, deaths & marriages Victoria. Hundreds of Chinese, white marriages.”

    Important info Min.

    And how many influential Aussies have given the Chinese Australians the “high hat” over the years? That dopey test was part of that patronising approach…typical TRICKY DICK stuff courtesy of Rodentville.
    N’

  65. Exactly N’. I wrote re the Citizenship Test saying how this was historically inaccurate, but never received a reply. I have the Pioneers Index for Victoria, the BDMs and so have factual data rather than just an opinion.

    Likewise the immigant issue. I was challenged about hubby’s uncle being an Italian could not possibly have been the Mayor of Richmond (Vic)..yet he was. Likewise hubby’s Italian grandfather was a Rat of Tobruk.

  66. From Mick Dodson’s National Press Club speech:

    When we talk about traditional ‘country’ in this way, we mean something beyond the dictionary definition of the word. For Aboriginal Australians, country has an altogether different meaning.
    When we say country we might mean homeland, or tribal or clan area and we might mean more than just a place on the map. We are not necessarily referring to a geographical place. We’re talking about the whole of the landscape, not just the places in it.
    For us, country is a word for all the values, places, resources, stories and cultural obligations associated with that area and its features. It describes the entirety of our ancestral domains. All of it is important – we have no wilderness, nor the opposite of wilderness, nor anything in between. Country is country – the whole cosmos.
    Country underpins and gives meaning to our creation beliefs – the stories of creation form the basis of our laws and explain the origins of the natural world to us – all things natural can be explained.
    So when we acknowledge traditional country, as increasingly people do in Australia, it is no empty ritual: it is to acknowledge who we, the Aboriginal people, are and our place in this nation. It is to take special note of a place and the people who belong to it.
    In doing that, it seems to me, all Australians might have a clearer notion of who they are and where they stand in relation to their history and the land they live in.
    And were they to understand what Aboriginal Australians mean by country, they would have gone some way to understanding the oldest living culture on earth – which is no small thing.
    By such small steps on the path of knowledge, you see, we will more easily find each other.

    Some might think this ritual of respect is purely symbolic – and therefore unrelated to all that needs to be done to improve our health and well being, and bring reconciliation nearer to reality. But it is not unrelated. It is one of the essential tools we need to get these jobs done. A symbol, after all, is only a symbol when it stands for something concrete.

  67. Most of what nasking cites is probably uncontroversial.

    Most Chinese arrivals came from impoverished areas in southern China, particularly the provinces around Canton. Pushed by environmental, economic and political difficulties in China and pulled by the lure of gold, many who arrived went into debt to pay their passage under a ‘credit ticket’ system.

    ‘Most’ being of significance because some at least were entrepreneurial types and not in ‘debt’.

    Min, on March 25th, 2009 at 4:25 pm’

    There were many reasons why the Chinese were disliked by many in the population. For a start, they were really ‘different’ in appearance, culture, religion and the like and they lived apart from the Europeans. Ethnocentrism (judging everything through the lens of one’s own culture) was alive and well in those times, probably even more so than today.

    Also on the goldfields there were some who were lucky but most didn’t get rich so tensions arose and scapegoats had to be found. The ‘different’ Chinese fitted the bill.

    I’d strongly dispute that that ‘prejudice didn’t occur until the 1880s. For example, anti-Chinese riots occurred in Bendigo as early as July 1854. Indeed that riot and similiar ‘events saw the first of the anti-Chinese immigration legislation introduced into Victoria.

    As for:

    The Chinese were in fact considered a good catch by English and Irish women as they were hard workers and as you say established market gardens, and so were good providers.

    The Chinese in Australia during the gold rushes almost without exception were male (yes there were some but very few female Chinese). Yes they did have money but the vast bulk of their ‘wealth’ was sent home often to existing wives who they might not visit for a decade.

    And it is true to say that SOME English and Irish women did regard them as a ‘good catch’, whatever that might have meant at the time. Some accounts point out the superior ‘personal hygiene’ of the Chinese as being of significance also. Nevertheless those women who did cohabitate were treated as social outcasts, generally speaking.

    Re the resort to market gardens. In some places the Chinese had little option. In the Croydon are in Queensland for example, racist mining laws enacted in 1878 stipulated Chinese were not entitled to mine a claim until three years after it had been declared. That gave European prospectors time to clean out most of the gold.

  68. Nature 5. Urban myths.

    The Chinese were well regarded by all sections of society and as stated, it wasn’t until the 1880’s that an anti-Chinese force came into being. This means 40 plus years.

    ‘Some’ English and Irish and Scottish women counted them as good catches..try hundreds of them. For example, and this is just for Victoria. And this is just using the common prefix of Ah*, then discount the surnames which (such as my own) are of Irish and other origins. Then you end up with hundreds of Chinese/Irish/Scottish marriages.

  69. If there is little difference between Abstudy and Austudy why have the TWO – aren’t we all Austudiers…?

  70. Min, on March 25th, 2009 at 6:23 pm Said

    The Chinese were well regarded by all sections of society and as stated, it wasn’t until the 1880’s that an anti-Chinese force came into being. This means 40 plus years.

    Min ever heard of Lambing Flat.

    One of the worst anti-Chinese riots occurred at Lambing Flat (now Young) in New South Wales. In the winter of 1861 a brass band playing Rule Britannia urged on a few thousand white miners carrying anti-chinese banners who descended upon the Chinese camp. The Chinese miners were attacked, assaulted and their camp set on fire. A small police presence was ineffective in preventing the violence. Almost five hundred were injured in the attack and over one thousand Chinese miners fled from the Lambing Flat goldfield.

    Note the year 1861, Is that evidence that:

    The Chinese were well regarded by all sections of society

    ‘Well regarded by ALL sections of society’. Surely you jest. If not perhaps to can point to evidence that supports your claim.

  71. Good point TB. I believe that you don’t have to wait until you’re 25yrs old in order to obtain Abstudy, which compares with Austudy.

  72. And Min while we are on the subject of ‘urban myths’ mhow do you account for the violent anti-Chinese riots at Turon in1853. Followed up by Meroo in 1854. Which in turn prompted more riots at Rocky River in1856, Tambaroora in1858, Lambing Flat (already mentioned), Kiandra in 1860, Nundle in 1861 and, in regard to a different metal, Tingha tin fields in1870.

    And I am still a decade (10 years) before the problem of anti-Chinese racism is supposed to have arisen. Please!

  73. As I said, making it inclusive would remove all my objections to the matter. Australia is now much more than just it’s indigenous people. We need to acknowledge that fact as well.

    Wouldn’t that be a fascinating way to approach a relationship…apparently, there is a special place in Australia where an all-inclusive cultural exchange in the form of all persons showing respect for place and occasion really isn’t ‘inclusive’. 😉

    I am against specific reference to any race in our multicultural society.

    Huh? How is that meant to work?

  74. Chased up some other sources on how well the Chinese were respected before the 1880s. LOL. Apparently not ALL respected the Chinese.

    Nothing could calm the madness in the diggers. At the Buckland River in North East Victoria early in July 1857 riots followed a rumour about the unnatural behaviour of a Chinese man.

    The rumour was seen as final proof that the Chinese were monsters in human shape, who practised abominations and made lewd gestures towards women and children

    And the women who married same were perhaps also ‘well-respected’? But maybe not. Lol.

    The evidence of the European wife of Ah Leen, who had been badly beaten by the mob, was not believed on the grounds that any white woman who would marry a Chinese showed a character of poor morals and people would not place any confidence in her.

    A character of ‘poor morals’ Who would have thought?

    Then we have:

    The anti-Chinese sentiment continued. In Beechworth the white diggers formed an Anti-Chinese League in 1857

    An anti-Chinese League in 1857? Couldn’t be! It’s decades too early. Should I mention the 1867 Anti-Chinese riot which occurred on Crocodile Creek goldfields in Queensland? Or the Anti-Chinese Legislation passed in Queensland in 1877.

    Isn’t the historical record a wonderful thing even if the Chinese never got to write too many words.

  75. Back to the topic. I for one am sick of Aborigines being treated as ‘special people’. You know ‘special’ in the dictionary sense of

    distinguished by some unusual quality – readily distinguishable from others – being other than the usual – unique, extraordinary

    Everyone wants to be special don’t they? Why is it that their life-span is so special? Why is it that their incomes are so special? Their educational levels so special?

    Indeed the list of being so ‘special’ is almost endless. You can get Abstudy? You also get the advantage of low stress jobs and low expectations from those that matter.

    Anyone want to swap places? And you don’t even have to jump a queue. LOL.

  76. Miglo, on March 25th, 2009 at 3:24 pm Said:

    “God save Port Adelaide.”

    I say God bless Port Adelaide and all who sail in her.

    “God save Richmond.” Because no-one else will. Lol.

    Min, I have to agree with N5. The Chinese were most emphatically not welcome in this country, particularly on the goldfields and are still regarded with deep suspicion by many.

  77. jane, on March 25th, 2009 at 10:00 pm Said:

    Another subscriber to the ‘urban myth’? Lol!

    This was the century when phrenology and other forms pseudo science were all out and about. Other races, including ‘Aborigines’ and ‘Chinese’ (to name but two) were inferior AND it could be scientifically proven!

    Well respected? LOL.

  78. A closing comment for the evening.

    The acknowledgement of country is a worthwhile tradition to develop. It is certainly a lot healthier than some half baked jingoism.

    Acknowledgement of our origins is part of cultural respect, and we ought to learn to take pride on our unique, indigenous cultural heritage.

    I’ve pointed out in the past that the indigenous population need role models that extend beyond footballers. And to repeat my view again, I think the government must have provide far greater support for indigenous artistic endeavours.

    This is our only genuinely Australian cultural heritage, everything else is a variation on an imported (generally European) culture.

    Support for indigenous art has so many advantages, it –

    • helps create role models beyond footballers.
    • preserves our vital and unique artistic and cultural heritage.
    • creates an alternative path out of dispossession.
    • encourages pride and self respect among the indigenous community
    • provides a basis for a sense of mutual respect of culture across the entire community

    People here should lobby their MPs to provide this support. It will be far more beneficial for our community than spending billions on home insulation.

  79. Tom of Melbourne, on March 25th, 2009 at 11:11 pm Said:

    The acknowledgement of country is a worthwhile tradition to develop. It is certainly a lot healthier than some half baked jingoism.

    Can only agree. As for:

    Acknowledgement of our origins is part of cultural respect, and we ought to learn to take pride on our unique, indigenous cultural heritage.

    Again. Can only agree. Then we have

    People here should lobby their MPs to provide this support. It will be far more beneficial for our community than spending billions on home insulation

    Certainly better for the soul. And there’s no doubt the soul needs nourishing. But correct me if I’m wrong, the current ‘imperative’ is economic rather than ‘cultural’ advancement, no matter how worthy that might be. Yes? No?

  80. The issue is that school children (and their parents should they be attending the presentation, assembly, etc) must listen to a small speech elevating indigenous people above the rest of us. Instead of trying to help them fit in, it is now mandatory to make them separate from the “rest of us”.

    How sad that people feel that any acknowledgement of Aboriginal people and their traditional ownership of Australia is a slight upon their own station in life. We who have so much, can’t bear to give something small to those who have so little and to which means so much. This downward envy makes my blood boil. How about embracing our history and heritage, this is the history of all Australians, not just Aboriginals. Our history is here, not in some far away land governed by kings and queens.

    How is the acknowledgement of our history and our first peoples an elevation of Indigenous Australians above ‘the rest of us’?
    Aboriginals need more than token words to elevate them, they are so far down in comparison to white Australians that they would need a shovel to dig themselves up to the level of equal.

    The emotion and distress on the faces and in the hearts of Aboriginal people on Sorry Day should tell us how much these gestures mean to a people who have been so wronged and are still coming to terms with their treatment and dispossession of lands at the hands of the white settlers. Let them have some pride FFS, if only for being here first!

    From Little Things Big Things Grow

  81. Well said Kittylitter!

  82. Wow, I get busy for a day and look what happens.

    It seems that people continue to misconstrue or otherwise not understand my problem. The issue is not one of disliking an acknowledgement of indigenous people. It has nothing to do with AbStudy or other financial means of helping indigenous people better themselves or their situation.

    I am now actually strongly annoyed by those that deliberately ignore my clarifications on the matter. There are some (joni, Tom of Melbourne, etc) that have acknowledged what I am talking about and some of them disagreed with my opinion. That’s all well and good.

    Then there are some (sorry kitty, you’re one of them) that want to turn my annoyance at the being forced by government policy into acknowledging the indigenous people to the exclusion of the rest of the people that make up our nation into something about the indigenous people alone. Were the “acknowledgement to country” about the indigenous people first & foremost with but a single sentence including the rest of the people making up our country I would actually be happy & 100% behind the initiative.

    Regardless of all the pain, suffering, and misfortune “white people” have bestowed upon the indigneous people in the past and to this day; a vast majority of us are not of indigenous descent. Are we not Australians? Are we somehow less important to our nation because we came later? Is not our country made up of all of us?

    For f@#$s sake, let’s stop making this issue about the downtrodden indigenous Australians and make it about all Australians. I am a strongly patriotic man and I feel it is a slight against the nation that the only people that can be acknowledged in daily speeches to my children are the indigenous through government policy. Our nation is made up of much more than the indigenous people, why can’t we acknowledge that as well? Why is our “country” only about the first people here?

  83. And no-one twisting my words into some “anti-indigenous tirade” has answered the question: What if school teachers were forced, by government, to make a prayer (Christian, Hindu, or Pastafarian) before every assembly & event?

    I’m betting that were Tony Abbot or Steve Fielding, through some weird twist of fate, able to have this made government policy – the screams of outrage from those belittling my comments would deafen those miles away.

    I repeat, this is not about indigenous people or their right to be acknowledged when talking about our country. It is about the fact that they are the only ones being acknowledged and we have no choice in the matter because of government policy.

  84. …Then there are some (sorry kitty, you’re one of them) that want to turn my annoyance at the being forced by government policy into acknowledging the indigenous people to the exclusion of the rest of the people that make up our nation into something about the indigenous people alone. Were the “acknowledgement to country” about the indigenous people first & foremost with but a single sentence including the rest of the people making up our country I would actually be happy & 100% behind the initiative.

    Well that’s not what you said before BT, you clearly and distinctly said the issue was:

    The issue is that school children (and their parents should they be attending the presentation, assembly, etc) must listen to a small speech elevating indigenous people above the rest of us.

    The above statement is what I was replying to and I quoted your words so that you would know exactly what i was referring to.

    Seems you’ve now changed your tune and are saying the issue is exclusion and not your previous ‘elevation’.

  85. Tol, my problem is re:

    to the exclusion of the rest of the people

    .

    Sorry, I just don’t feel excluded. Prayers for other cultures would mean inclusion not exclusion.

  86. What if school teachers were forced, by government, to make a prayer (Christian, Hindu, or Pastafarian) before every assembly & event?

    Are those races the first peoples of Australia who previously owned the lands that we all walk upon today?

    The question is irrelevant as you are talking about two different things, religion vs race. Not that Aboriginals can’t practice christianity, hinduism and rastafarian if they so choose!

  87. I think that the issue is that government policy is that the acknowledgement of country must be said – not the content of the acknowledgement.

  88. Joni, being a wee bit of a republican I would much rather an acknowledgement of country rather than a compulsory raising of the flag (what was that about flagpoles?). I would even like the Lord’s Prayer replaced in Parliament by an acknowledgement of country. At least it’s Australian.

  89. Sorry, I just don’t feel excluded. Prayers for other cultures would mean inclusion not exclusion.

    And you would be right there min. How can the white majority, those who enjoy an elevated status above all others, those who have charge of all the systems and departments that we are governed by – feel excluded?

  90. I think that the issue is that government policy is that the acknowledgement of country must be said – not the content of the acknowledgement.

    The issue keeps changing!

  91. B. Tolputt, what is your problem with this acknowledgement? Haven’t white people had their egos stroked enough?

    Daily, we see who’s important and who gets acknowledged in this country and daily the indigenous have their noses rubbed in their inferior status, and you object to a small gesture towards them!

    Australian history is jam-packed with the exploits of the white usurpers and until recently bugger-all reference to the real first settlers.

    Until 1967, the original inhabitants weren’t even considered to be citizens of this country, apparently because 60,000 years residence here wasn’t sufficient to gain citizenship! Of course, if you were white and had been here 3 years, you were far more acceptable!

    There was even a movement, no doubt inspired by the red-neck element in other countries, to send “the niggers” back where they came from. The fact that they’d been here at least 40,000 or more years buggered that plan up!!!

    It was goodo for them to go off to fight, bleed and occasionally die for the country that wouldn’t acknowledge their right to citizenship! But not good enough to get their pay in hand, like the white soldiers.

    And not good enough until the last half of the 20th century to have access to even a minimal education, or decent jobs, based purely on the colour of their skin!

    We, the majority, have our self-importance reinforced every nanosecond of every day in every conceivable way.

    When the indigenous inhabitants of this country are included in that comfortable subconscious knowledge, then you can whinge about a sentence or two singling them out and nominally placing them ahead of us.

    In any case, it’s a small price to pay for an entire continent and the ruination of many and diverse cultures, don’t you think?

  92. There was a mention of phrenology and how this proved that other races were by nature ‘inferior’. And this was also used to prove that the Irish were likewise inferior..(from memory) I think that it was because the back of the skull due to a sampling of Irish was ‘flatter’. From: http://www.cerebromente.org.br/n01/frenolog/frenmod.htm

    British Anthropological Institute, in his book “The Races of Man” (1862), developed an “Index of Nigressence”, based on which he was able to state that the Irish had crania similar to those of the Cro-Magnon pre-historic men and thus were a kind of “Africanoid” white race !

  93. Well said Jane. And Kittylitter. I luv the passion.

    “Seems you’ve now changed your tune and are saying the issue is exclusion and not your previous ‘elevation’.”

    Yes B.Tolputt, I think the “elevation” thing got me stirred up too. I mighta been less agro if you’d worded it differently. Still, you certainly generated a few debates and I’m wiser for it.

    “I think that the issue is that government policy is that the acknowledgement of country must be said – not the content of the acknowledgement.”

    joni, my wife, an acting HOD, reckons it only happens a few times a year…and rather than feeling negative about it she feels it’s a positive…helps lift the esteem of the Aboriginal students.

    Tho I do get you on the CHOICE bit.

    Is it that you…& B. Tolputt…think the lack of CHOICE might be used by sh*t stirrers to create animosity the way the old Packer & other media used the land right’s issue in a blatantly fear-mongering way to undermine the Keating government & in turn create more division between the races?

    I certainly hope the general public are bigger than that.

    With all the China bashing in the media these days one wonders if the Right-Wing know how to make gains w/out causing xenophobic furore. Slack.
    N’

  94. Just a final word in talking about exclusion.

    BT, you feel offended and excluded because for a couple of minutes on each school day your child must hear an indigenous acknowledgement without that acknowledgement allowing your child to feel ‘special’ too.

    Imagine how Aboriginal kids feel every minute of every day knowing that the opposite is true for them, that they don’t have the financial and social advantages of everyone around them? Aboriginal children feel excluded from the mainstream all of the time.

    Why are people so precious about their kids these days? I hear amazing stories like how some people buy a present for their kid on another child’s birthday, so their child doesn’t feel left out.

    Just for a couple of minutes, can’t a kid (and their parents) cope with the thought that It’s not always about them?

  95. Various comments from this thread (Nasking) –

    “This sounds like the kinda backdoor “anti-political correctness” BS the Murdoch media, old Packer media, Howeirdians & shock jocks like to put out there to stir up sh*t. It’s also anti-big government claptrap.
    I sometimes wonder who is funding this blog.”

    “That dopey test was part of that patronising approach…typical TRICKY DICK stuff courtesy of Rodentville.”

    “think the lack of CHOICE might be used by sh*t stirrers to create animosity the way the old Packer & other media used the land right’s issue in a blatantly fear-mongering way to undermine the Keating government & in turn create more division between the races?”

    “Tho I acknowledge some half-decent efforts at RECONCILLIATION by a number of fine Labor PMs & even the occasional Lib w/ “respect” & “dignity” on their minds.”

    I’m observing that this contributor is completely unable to participate in a discussion without either blaming some media conspiracy, or turning it into an opportunity to allocate either political glory or blame.

    He seems unable to contribute to a discussion about an idea or policy on its merits.

  96. Kitty..re ‘precious darlings’. My crew are age 31, 28 and 24 and there have always been these sort of parents. Those who knock continuously on the Principal’s door because they don’t like Multi-Cultural Day – don’t like Easter – don’t like Christmas – don’t want a disabled child in the classroom..

    My final word. When the Bundjalung Aunties were invited to the school, the kids learnt far more about ‘country’ and where they were in the scheme of things that any geography lesson could ever teach them.

    ps..I was a mean Mum, I made my crew wait until Easter bunny came before they could have Easter eggs. But Mummmm, they’re in the shop. Me: They’re just display items, the real ones don’t come until Easter.

  97. “He seems unable to contribute to a discussion about an idea or policy on its merits.”

    Tom, your attempts to discredit me bring a smile & warm feelings of nostalgia. How thou art like Peter on Road To Surfdom.

    You’ve even learnt the art of using selective quotes to create a false impression…good for you. I take it you’ll be on my back for the next few mths. Enjoy. Don’t get lost in the fur.

    Bear in the Big Blue House Potty Train


    N’

  98. Min you can obviously think outside the box. I sent a bunch of Easter eggs to the Philippines which seem to have disappeared despite my stern warnings they had exploding dye bombs that would go off if opened before Easter :). Any suggestions.

    My only comment on the post is to express depressed surprise that an issue like this gets framed in terms of the tired old left/right divide. It pretty much guarantees which direction the argument will head.

  99. Sorry to interrupt…….

    Tipping comp, please see The Locker Room for details. Must resubmit tips if you’ve already done so through Oztips.com

  100. Ken..whoops it was supposed to have been a final word..but since you have written 🙂

    Sadly re Easter eggs, you have done your best. Sometimes one just has resign oneself to the fact that the Easter Bunny does arrive early.

  101. “Peter on Road To Surfdom” I’d imagine that he was intelligent and socially aware.

    Ken Lovell – “My only comment on the post is to express depressed surprise that an issue like this gets framed in terms of the tired old left/right divide.”

    I’d agree here Ken, some issues are just too important to be part of a political game.

  102. @kittylitter:
    Having the indigenous being the only people mentioned when making an “acknowledgement of country” is elevating them above the rest of us. Excluding the rest of us that make up this nation/country, implies that they are the only Australians worth acknowledging.

    Were it mandatory to acknowledge the indigenous and then have free reign about who else to acknowledge in the same speech, then there would be no “elevation by exclusion” because then the effect of the policy would be to ensure that no-one is elevated above the indigenous – they are an equally important part of our country.

    I thought this line of thought would be obvious as I have mentioned a couple of times now) that were the rest of us somehow included in the opening preamble – I would be 100% behind it. I haven’t “changed my tune” at all, as reading my comments would show.

    As a country, we are not defined solely by the indigenous people. By making them the sole beneficiary of a government policy – we are making the implication that they define more of our nation than the rest of us do. The “exclusion of non-indigenous” & “elevation of indigenous” are one and the same thing. Again, as reading my comments would show.

    Are those races the first peoples of Australia who previously owned the lands that we all walk upon today?

    The question is irrelevant as you are talking about two different things, religion vs race.

    I disagree. Both of them are grounds against which one cannot discriminate against someone without breaking the law. A government policy to make mandatory an acknowledgement of Christians in our country would be illegal and quite offensive. Especially if it were done to the exclusion of other religions. Why is this different?

    BT, you feel offended and excluded because for a couple of minutes on each school day your child must hear an indigenous acknowledgement without that acknowledgement allowing your child to feel ’special’ too.

    No, I feel offended because everyday my children are shown belonging to a particular race is more important to this country than the contribution they make.

    Just for a couple of minutes, can’t a kid (and their parents) cope with the thought that It’s not always about them?

    Well, the assembly that brought this up WAS about them. They were receiving an award for hard work and academic excellence. The flip-side to your comment is “Can’t an indigenous person cope with the thought that it’s not always about them?” My children’s academic achievements have nothing to do with the indigenous, but their achievements are (in part) about their pride of country. As I said, I am strongly proud of our nation and I try to instill that in the children.

  103. Ben, I think the indigenous community should occupy an elevated position in our sentiments.

    The rest of us, or our forebears assisted to dispossess them of their land and their culture and heritage. While we need not maintain a deep sense of guilt, acknowledgement of the past is important. It helps build understanding, and this is an important factor in reconciling us.

    Our children should all develop a sense of ownership and pride in our own cultural heritage, and the only part of that which is genuinely unique is that of the original inhabitants.

    Symbols are important in society, the symbols we use will establish our culture of the future, this acknowledgment is important.

  104. To acknowledge or isolate any race before or to the exclusion of others is, in and of itself, inherently racist. That said, I could cope with it if I thought that it would achieve a positive outcome for those of Aboriginal heritage (however defined as to %). I don’t see how it does or indeed how it could, beyond facilitating the concept of victimhood amongst Aborigines. As much as those of Aboriginal heritage may be entitled to said feelings of victimhood due to their historical treatment I doubt that the fostering of such feelings will lead to their rising above it. Therefore, I am against the idea of a “Welcome to Country”. I think it’s a wank.

  105. Agreed Tom. We have several hundred years where the only history taught in schools was English history. Rote learning the Kings and Queens of England..not Scotland, not Wales..just England.

    BT, re: My children’s academic achievements have nothing to do with the indigenous..

    You speak BT as if the indigenous aren’t people, but something apart from ‘your children’.

    Just maybe your children might benefit academically if they were to expand their horizons, to consider a society bigger than just maths, english and science.

    This is something that I always told parents when I was teaching when they asked How do I help my child achieve? My answer was: Do something other than the curriculum, do not employ maths coaches for kids who are achieving at a good level (unless you want to put your kids off learning maths). That there is a big wide world out there with lots and lots of interesting exciting things happening and a lot of it isn’t covered by the curriculum.

  106. No offense James, you’re usually quite sensible.

    But I think there are people that don’t respond well to symbols or emotion. Some respond more to logic or direct evidence/correlation.

    I suspect you respond mainly to the direct correlation, cause and effect.

    Respect and pride are emotional. Acknowledgement soothes the wound, it is good for everyone.

    It is a way of getting past the past, it can build the sense of alignment that has been lacking.

  107. James..I would have to check with Miglo but I believe that Welcome to Country is a protocol and a matter of good manners.

    So it’s ok to follow English protocol such as curtseying and dipping one’s hat to the Queen of England but not ok to follow Aboriginal protocol via a welcome to country?

  108. “My only comment on the post is to express depressed surprise that an issue like this gets framed in terms of the tired old left/right divide. It pretty much guarantees which direction the argument will head.”

    Superb contribution Ken. That cleared matters up.
    N’

  109. Nasking – “Tom, your attempts to discredit me…”

    No attempt or effort by me is needed, you do all the damage yourself.

  110. “No, I feel offended because everyday my children are shown belonging to a particular race is more important to this country than the contribution they make.”

    Why everyday?

    N’

  111. Re: “No, I feel offended because everyday my children are shown belonging to a particular race is more important to this country than the contribution they make.”

    And so Pol you have Aboriginal and TSI rellies too??

  112. Tom, I accept that acknowledgement soothes the wound. But at some point, the band aid needs to be removed and the injured encouraged to get up and back into it. I hate the way the Aborigines were treated in the past. I hate the way that mainly white Anglo Saxons treated all other races throughout the world in the past. I continue to hate the way many races treat many other races still today. But Australia is a multi cultural society. Most of us are not here by choice, but by circumstances beyond our control. But we’re all here and just have to do our best with it. The isolation of one group of people does nothing for living in peace and harmony, and does nothing to lift many Aborigines out of the poverty in which they find themselves. I have yet to meet an Aboriginal person I didn’t like. Except Geoff Clark, but I disliked him before I met him. Him aside, I’ve liked them all, right down to the toothless old lady who sits in the gutter drinking outside a petrol station in Darwin and calls out friendly obscenities in my direction, and knocks off ciggies from me. The kids we had board with us on exchange were fantastic. But Australia is a nation of many races, and that’s what we should be celebrating.

  113. Min, I’ve never bowed to nor dipped my hat to the Queen of England, nor any other queen for that matter.

  114. James, there is plenty to learn from the indigenous community.

    Unless we preserve the culture and heritage, it will be lost. Without first providing respect for it we won’t have any opportunity to preserve it. Acknowledgement is part of this respect.

    It isn’t simply that they lost their land a couple of hundred years ago, the damage continued to present generations. Their injury isn’t consigned to our history, it is part of their present.

    I don’t see that it causes resentment. All cultures develop their own forms, symbols and ceremonies. All that have joined us here have brought their own, I don’t see a problem with one that belongs to us, and which is not related to a European import.

  115. “The rest of us, or our forebears assisted to dispossess them of their land and their culture and heritage.”

    Mine didn’t. My ancestors had nothing to do w/ it. Bit of a generalisation. But I don’t mind standing respectfully & listening to an acknowledgement of these unique tribes relationship to this land.

    “While we need not maintain a deep sense of guilt, acknowledgement of the past is important. It helps build understanding, and this is an important factor in reconciling us.”

    I will agree w/ this.

    “I’ve pointed out in the past that the indigenous population need role models that extend beyond footballers. And to repeat my view again, I think the government must have provide far greater support for indigenous artistic endeavours.”

    I concur…and business ventures…but I think you’ll find that indigenous role models do extend beyond those who play footy. Think Tracey Moffat, Dorothy Napangardi, Alexis Wright
    members from Warumpi Band, Yothu Yindi…Kev Carmody, Christine Anu, Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, Ruby Hunter, Archie Roach…& so on.

    “you do all the damage yourself.”

    We walk the path, but sometimes the attempted ambush impedes momentum, tho tripping up is also a regular occurence on blogs. None of us are immune…right Tom?

    N’

  116. Min/kittylitter/jane,

    I have enjoyed your posts on this delicate subject. I don’t think I can match your passion.

  117. B.Tolputt, on March 26th, 2009 at 1:51 pm Said

    “No, I feel offended because everyday my children are shown belonging to a particular race is more important to this country than the contribution they make.”

    My point exactly B Tolputt, every day in every way your children are being shown that belonging to the white race is more important to this country than anyone else.

    Every day in every way your children are shown that the only people in positions of power and authority are white. And every day in every way you are confirming that it’s OK to jackboot into a country, dispossess its inhabitants and begrudge them the slightest recognition under the pretext that they made no significant contribution to the country.

    They had stewardship of this country for 40,000+ years and barely made an impression on it.

    We’ve been here 220 years and have achieved the dubious distinction of presiding over the most rapid rate of extinction of native plants and animals on the globe. Are you teaching your children this proud achievement, by any chance?

    As I said before, we took a continent without any payment to the occupants, except to pass on the worst of our culture and diseases against which they had no resistance. Then just for good measure, they have to contend with d#ckheads who begrudge them a sentence or two of acknowledgement a day.

    Gaahhh!!!!!

  118. Thank you Jane. Little grandie’s other granny is full blood TSI with her mother having arriving in Cairns WW2 when the Australian army evacuated the women and children from Thursday Island because of the impending arrival of the Japanese.

  119. You speak BT as if the indigenous aren’t people, but something apart from ‘your children’.

    Seriously, how did “My children are not indigenous” become “I don’t think ‘the indigenous’ are peope”??!!

    So it’s ok to follow English protocol such as curtseying and dipping one’s hat to the Queen of England but not ok to follow Aboriginal protocol via a welcome to country?

    Should I be talking to or otherwise engaged in an event focused in some way on the indigenous Australians; your point would have merit. However, as has been stated several times now, this is a mandatory practice to be done at all assemblies / public events regardless of subject matter or audience.

    We don’t curtsey to the Queen when she is not present, and we sure as hell aren’t required to address her &/or her health at every public occasion.

    My point exactly B Tolputt, every day in every way your children are being shown that belonging to the white race is more important to this country than anyone else.

    Oh for crying out loud! I’ve tried to refrain from cursing but this is, quite honestly, outright bullshit. In no way, -no way-, are my children learning that “white people are better than black people”. They sure as hell don’t get it at home and I know the school isn’t teaching them that (that is, after all, pretty much what we’re talking about here).

    On the other hand – in terms of rewards & outings announced to the school, indigenous Australians are getting the lion’s share from my experience. I attended two assemblies last month (I have three children in school) and one of them had an announcement that there was a free “learn to surf” school with BBQ that weekend but only for the indigenous children. Note, I don’t care about that – I only mention it because I flat out guarantee there were no “free fun & BBQ” events for “white children only”. To even suggest as much belittles the both of us.

    And every day in every way you are confirming that it’s OK to jackboot into a country, dispossess its inhabitants and begrudge them the slightest recognition under the pretext that they made no significant contribution to the country.

    How so? I don’t begrudge them the recognition. I bemoan the fact that they, and only they, are to be recognised in a mandatory “Acknowledgement of Country”. Whether you, the government, or anyone else wants to admit it – Australia is a larger nation & country than just it’s indigenous people.

    People read my words:
    I don’t care that we acknowledge the indigenous people at assemblies. I have nothing against the indigenous people of Australia or elsewhere. I simply want a mandatory “Acknowledgement of Country” to include the complete nation, not just a small fraction of it.

  120. And purely out of interest:

    Actually the Aborigine’s impact has not been so limited. Since Australia’s first settlers arrived at least 40 000 years ago and possibly 60 000+ it is difficult to see just what effect they had on their environment. There is some evidence which suggests that Australia’s megafauna [large animals, now extinct] disappeared in the centuries following man’s arrival. Whether this was due to man or climate change or a combination of both is still being debated. Aboriginals also burnt huge tracts of forest and scrub to expose food and also to create new growth which in turn brings in animals to graze. It is believed that over time this continual burning changed the species of forest trees that once existed into the predominantly eucalyptus forests that exist today. Wherever man has gone in his travelings he has changed the land forever and Australia seems to be no exception.

  121. Oh for crying out loud! I’ve tried to refrain from cursing but this is, quite honestly, outright bullshit. In no way, -no way-, are my children learning that “white people are better than black people”….in terms of rewards & outings announced to the school, indigenous Australians are getting the lion’s share from my experience.

    Then you are indeed teaching your children that white people are better than black people especially if you tell your children that the indigenous kids are receiving the ‘lion’s share’..

  122. Min, you did it to me, now you’ve done it to B. Don’t verbal. I never said it was ok to bow to the queen and B never said he told his kids that Aboriginal children were getting the “Lion’s share” of anything.

  123. Min, you are deliberately twisting my words now.

    I never said I told them anything like that. you are putting words in my mouth to attack an argument I am not making. I was relating an experience that sticks in my mind because my son asked if he could go (I had to say “No”). It doesn’t affect me that they had said event (something I mentioned – go read it); it simply is a counter-example to your claims.

    I think you are now looking at my posts through the lens of “So what racist thing is he saying now”. Perhaps, being indigenous yourself, you are unable to understand my point of view… in much the same way people are implying I simply don’t understand the viewpoint of the indigenous people.

  124. James..I am just quoting and replying to the quotes.

    Sorry, I didn’t mean you personally about bowing to the Queen of England. What I meant was about protocol, that Tol was saying that Acknowledgement of country was an imposition upon his children, which compares with the raising of the English flag. Both protocol.

    I most definitely agree with your statements of: James of North Melbourne, on March 26th, 2009 at 2:52 pm Said:

    …and especially: I hate the way that mainly white Anglo Saxons treated all other races throughout the world in the past. I continue to hate the way many races treat many other races still today. And also (your statement)..The isolation of one group of people does nothing for living in peace and harmony,

  125. .I am just quoting and replying to the quotes.

    I beg to differ. You selectively quoted my comment and then made unqualified assumptions on top of that.

  126. It would be interesting to hear the opinions of Aboriginal parents on this topic, I would not be surprised if they objected to this non-inclusiveness as when one group is afforded special attention, regardless of which group, that somewhat alienates the others.

    I believe that to break down this barrier that exists it is a generational progression which of course starts at home and obviously their education.

    I grew up with a mate called ‘Boonga’ who some here would call the stolen generation, he was one of us regardless of the colour of his skin which was never an issue.

    He still calls himself Boonga as it is just a nick-name opposed to the PC bullshit that would render it taboo now and he wears it with pride.

    I do not agree with certain elements of our population given preferential treatment or being derided as we are one nation and I object to any so called group being used as an ideological or political football!

    Now, where’s that rock?

  127. I think this is one of the issues that require reflection, rather than reaction to experience.

    During an exchange on a similar subject a while ago, I made my now repetitive observation about the importance of respect for art as a way of preserving culture and promoting self respect among indigenous communities. I suggested that people make a personal commitment to the purchase of original indigenous art.

    Several, including some that are participants in this discussion, responded along the lines of “I buy art that I like…” (a comment that was later qualified and corrected).

    The original comment on supporting only the art that you “like” was an unthinking first reaction.

    The first reaction to an acknowledgement of country may also be one of cynical questioning, but I think reflection will cause understanding of the support and reconciliation is provides.

  128. I have no problem with the acknowledgement to country ceremony being performed at event. It is not (as appears to be argued by Ben) an acknowledgement of aboriginals generally but rather an acknowledgement that the event is being held on land that ‘belonged’ to the particular tribe of that area. It is one small way of acknowledging the history of that place and the prior (and in some cases present) traditional owners of the land. But as others have said, this needs to be done in the broader context of education of all people in Australia about this heritage or the reason (and purpose) behind the welcome to country becomes lost. A further issue is that the acknowledgement must be maningful and understood or, as is evident from Ben’s views, its value as a part of the reconciliation process is lost.

    I still find it incredible that more people in Australia know about medieval Europe, the Roman, Greek and Egyptian empires than they do about Australian aboriginal history. The Europeans acknowledge the importance of the history of previous occupiers of their lands even though that particular race/ grouping was defeated or wiped out, why can’t we do the same when this history in many cases is far younger (and at the same time so much older) than the European history we study at school and travel O/S to see?

  129. Dave55, on March 26th, 2009 at 6:47 pm Said:

    I still find it incredible that more people in Australia know about medieval Europe, the Roman, Greek and Egyptian empires than they do about Australian aboriginal history

    Care to muse on what you mean by ‘History’? Care to point out Aboriginal documents which are the basis of any ‘history’? Care to point to any Aboriginal influences that affect or indeed effect our European institutions and values such as ‘democracy’, ‘citizenship’, ‘rule of law’?

    A serious question. Where should the emphasis/priority be in terms of the average punter’s understanding – Aboriginal or European cultural tradition?

  130. Interesting N5. I suspect that there is little western cultures could learn for indigenous cultures by way of the structured institutions.

    The area developed societies lack, relates more to the sensitive, empathetic, emotional senses.

    It seems the more developed and structured we become, the more we loose some of our senses and sensitivity. Indigenous cultures around the world seem to have a single word to describe this sensitivity, developed cultures struggle to carry the sentiment without devoting chapters to it.

    It is though an interesting subject, particularly for novices.

  131. …i mean… us novices

  132. Tom of Melbourne, on March 26th, 2009 at 11:02 pm Said:

    I suspect that there is little western cultures could learn for indigenous cultures by way of the structured institutions.

    Tom, i think we all can learn from the ‘common sense’ of other cultures but only if we are of the view that our own cultural ‘truths’ are not absolute. Indeed we should aspire to escape the limits of our own backgrounds/cultures and seriously entertain new ideas. The irony is that the intellectual tools we employ will always be culturally generated. A vicious circle? Of course!

    It seems the more developed and structured we become, the more we loose some of our senses and sensitivity. Indigenous cultures around the world seem to have a single word to describe this sensitivity, developed cultures struggle to carry the sentiment without devoting chapters to it.

    Not sure what you mean or should I say intend. In particular “Indigenous cultures around the world seem to have a single word to describe this sensitivity”. Am at a loss re this ‘single word’.

    What is this ‘single word’?

  133. N5 – “What is this ’single word’?”

    I’ll remember tomorrow. When the effects of too much “botox ” has worn off.

    But while I remain lucid enough, there is a sense of natural sensitivity, and connection with the environment that developed cultures lack.

    I find it interesting, as there is a parallel with some thinking in organisational learning and development.

  134. Tom of Melbourne, on March 26th, 2009 at 11:02 pm

    Sorry Tom, our comments sort of crossed. As for:

    …i mean… us novices

    Tom, we are all ‘novices’! And while I abhor ‘absolutism, I have no doubt about that! Lol.

    Actually, I was just hanging about waiting for Min to provide evidence that the Chinese were loved and respected before the 1880s, but that claim has been confined to the dustbin of history apparently. And that’s a good thing too.

    text

  135. In today’s Advertiser:

    221 years on we remain a land of bigots.
    MORE than 200 years after Europeans arrived, Aboriginal people face discrimination in public places and institutions, Flinders University researchers have found.

    And the distress racism causes affects Aboriginal health.

    The authors of In Our Own Backyard said it appeared racism was alive and well, with more than nine in ten Aboriginal people experiencing bias, abuse and violence, and two thirds experiencing it often.

    They also found twice as many Aboriginal people were teetotallers, compared to non-Aborigines, while three times as many smoked. Most Aboriginal people surveyed felt society did not look after disadvantaged people.

    One woman, Amy, said racism made her feel physically ill.

    “. . . it’s like a shockwave you know, you have the ripple effect . . . a week later and it’s still playing on your mind . . . I just feel sick in the guts or you might throw up,” she said.

    Professor Fran Baum said the research team was shocked by the “persistent and relentless racism that Aboriginal people in Adelaide face in their everyday lives”.

    “They’re things like being verbally abused, being called names, going to a shop and feeling they were being ignored,” she said.

    Another researcher, Dr Anna Ziersch, said people experienced racism in a range of settings and it could lead to them avoiding the doctor, education, or other institutions. “A huge proportion talked about being frustrated, being angry,” she said.

    “People who experience racism regularly have poor mental health. They talked about the stress of racism . . . a sense of hopelessness.”

    The researchers said “closing the gap” between indigenous and non-indigenous life expectancy, which is 17 years, would be impossible if racism was not addressed.

    They suggest a range of policies, including making indigenous culture more accessible to the mainstream, teaching more Aboriginal history and encouraging more Aboriginal-controlled organisations.

    Aboriginal health-care worker Simon Peisley, who took part in the study, said people needed to work together and acknowledge Aboriginal people as the first people in Australia.

    I think that a large number of Blogocrats have said the same thing.

  136. Nature..sorry for the late reply. Firstly on re-reading my post the description ‘well regarded by all sections…etc’ is clearly an exaggeration of mine. And so apologies for that one as well.

    However, I do stand by the facts that the Chinese were not always considered the ‘foreign devils’ as is portrayed in a British-based history. My knowledge is only of Victoria via being a family historian for 15 years (or about that..I know that we were living in New Brighton NSW).

    Firstly, it is not often recognised just how multi-cultural the goldfields were and so although the Chinese did stand out as ‘different’ so did the American Negroes (these of course were not present in the same numbers, but present nonetheless).

    I particularly like the famous Seweryn Korzelinski’s description (he was a digger, memoirs written between ’52 and ’56 and translated from the original Polish to English in about 1908 I think):

    “a happy-go-lucky German tailor, a brawny English smith, a slightly-built French cook, a Polish Jew, an American or Dutch sailor, watchmaker, confectioner, a Swiss hat-maker, an impoverished Spanish hidalgo, gather near a mound of earth and one can see amongst them here and there a black Negro head, a brown Hindu face or the olive countenance with slanting eyes of a ‘child of the sun’. Elsewhere in a group a Swedish sailor away from his whaling ship, a Norwegian reindeer herdsman, a gaucho from La Plata, a Creole from Malabar or Mozambique and many others sit together. They amuse themselves with conversation about their countries of origin and its habits and describe events they have experienced, because every one crossed many lands and many a sea before arriving in Australia”.

    Below is just my interpretation. At first there was no problem with the Chinese, they were temporary residents who would earn their fortunes and then return to China (most were from the famine areas near Canton).

    However, as surface gold became scarcer and less money made the Chinese came to be resented as they would pick over diggings abandoned by other diggers and often come up with a good deal of gold (probably not provable, but this is what was said). The Chinese also worked in organised teams compared with the average digger where it was mostly every man for himself.

    As mentioned previously, the Chinese came to be regarded as a good catch as they were hardworking and used their money to establish businesses such as market gardens, laundries (and brothels and opium and gambling dens). However, if one is an impoverished Irish or Scottish immigrant and one has 7 daughters, then there were indeed a good catch. This of course is not to say that there weren’t many many love matches.

    The above obviously lead to further resentment against the Chinese – not only were they (by this point) staying put, finding gold where others had given up, establishing businesses (and making more money by growing vegetables than diggers made by digging for gold) but were marrying white women. Women being an exceptionally scarce commodity on the goldfields.

    Just as finishing note, again from Korzelinski..a description of the egalitarian nature of the goldfields.

    “As they dig shafts next to one another, their outward appearance does not signify their previous importance, worth or mental attainments. A colonel pulls up the earth for a sailor; a lawyer wields not a pen but a spade; a priest lends a match to a Negro’s pipe; a doctor rests on the same heap of earth with a China man; many a baron or count has a drink with a Hindu, and all of them hirstute, dusty, and muddy, so that their own mothers would not be able to recognise them.”

  137. N5

    I probably agree that there is little that we could learn from the various aboriginal tribes regarding ‘law’ however recent use of things like circle sentencing in aboriginal communities could have broader application.

    As for culture, I am sure that aboriginal dance and art could well be used as influences (and increasingly are) – a better understanding of the meaning behind these art forms would, I am sure, increase our appreciation of them.

    But one thing you overlook is the traditional knowledge regarding foods, medicines and land management. The Australian ecosystem is VASTLY different to the european and mediterranean one that we get most of our farming practices from. Aboriginals lived on this continent for between 40000 and 100000 years before the egyptions and greeks became a force. To suggest that there is little we can learn from then in terms of living with this environment is, IMO, wrong and given that the connection with the land is what is being acknowledged in the ‘Acknowledgement of Country” statement, I question whether any objection to the statement on this basis really understands the significance of it.

  138. Dave55, on March 27th, 2009 at 10:32 am Said..The Australian ecosystem is VASTLY different to the european and mediterranean one that we get most of our farming practices from.

    And this is a topic all by itself Dave. Consider the devastation caused because one had to plough in neat furrows as was the English tradition rather than contour ploughing. Neat parallel ploughing and watch the fragile topsoil blow from South Australia to Victoria.

  139. Min, on March 27th, 2009 at 10:06 am

    Thanks for the response. Nothing more stimulating than an exchange of ideas and ‘history’ provides rich and opportunities.

    that the Chinese were not always considered the ‘foreign devils’ as is portrayed in a British-based history.

    That’s not my understanding. During the nineteenth century there was a widespread belief that some races were less intelligent, immoral, inferior and less cultured than others. The Chinese fell into that category. This belief was supported by the ‘science’ of the time which indeed prevailed well into the twentieth century. (Probably still alive and kicking today).

    Let’s not forget this was the era of Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species and his cousin Francis Galton who named and developed the concept of eugenics. While most people associate Adolf Hitler with eugenics, its adherents were almost ‘across the board’ and included according to Wiki:

    H. G. Wells, Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, Emile Zola, George Bernard Shaw, John Maynard Keynes, William Keith Kellogg, Margaret Sanger, Winston Churchill, and Sidney Webb

    While some individuals undoubtedly ‘got on’ with individual Chinese, I suggest they would be in the great minority.

    As for Seweryn Korzelinski’s descriptions, they are interesting but remember he was only here for four (4) years and he did make reference to clashes between classes and cultures.

    Cheers.

  140. And hugs back to you too Nature.

    Ahh yes..most definitely agree re the inferiority of races (perceptions there-of). As I think that I’ve popped in somewhere [upward arrow], this was not just limited to ‘other races’ but that phrenology was ‘proof’ that the Irish were an inferior race of people and in fact the Irish were called ‘white negroid types’.

    However, this was upper class intellectual stuff..and as per today, most people take people as we find ’em. Hence the reason for the term ‘digger’..it means egalitarian. And Korzelinski’s descriptions to me seem to personify the Australian Identity.

    I don’t have a problem with Korzelinkski’s descriptions as these are similar to more eloquent tho’, to most of my family’s descriptions (plus others’ oral family history obtained during research). My granny, a nurse who trained at Guy’s hospital used to tell many tales – Jeff’s g/grandfather died from Miner’s Disease (phthisis) at Rushworth however g/granny lived to a ripe old age and passed along a lot a oral family history of the goldfields.

    Nature re your statement: “While some individuals undoubtedly ‘got on’ with individual Chinese, I suggest they would be in the great minority.”

    They not only ‘got on’ with Chinese, but they married ’em. Perhaps you would like to contact the very fine crew at the Bendigo Chinese/Australian Historical Society.

    I can only go by factual evidence, this being the registers for Victoria…only being accurate after 1856 the year of Civil Registration; and prior to civil registration being somewhat less accurate being church records, mostly BTs.

    And as previously stated, if you put in the prefix Ah* (a common Chinese prefix), then you discount all the obviously English names, then you have the Ah Chee and Ah Chin names, among many others. And there are HUNDREDS OF CHINESE/WHITE MARRIAGES between 1856-1888 (the extent of the Pioneers Index).

    Also as stated, there was a a considerable drop off on the Federation Index (1889-1901). **Proviso, by then most Chinese (and other non Anglos) had Anglicised their names – for example, Ah Chee would be recorded as James O’Chee. **Double note, some surprises for people who thought that their ancestors were Irish 🙂

    It’s just factual information and you can access it yourself from: http://online.justice.vic.gov.au/CA256C7100199CBE/OrigDoc/~1542E3A9C6B6BE3DCA256C72001CAE6E?OpenDocument&1=13-Index+Search~&2=10-Index+Categories~&3=~

    And double hugs. You certainly made me do my homework! Thank you Nature.

  141. Thanks min. Btw, just finished a book on The Gatton Murders which explores four violent murders here in QLD in the town of Gatton late in the 19th century.
    The book makes reference to Bishop Quinn who changed his name to Bishop O’Quinn to appear more Irish. LOL.

    As for O’Chee, we had Senator Bill O’Chee here in QLD and his Chinese background was apparent.

    As for:

    No doubt. But when you consider that there were somewhere in the order of 40/50 000 (no official figures were kept) Chinese males wandering around, and according to some sources only 11 Chinese females, hundreds of marriages may not have been a significant number. While the vices of gambling and opium-smoking distracted them from their sexual pursuits, it was only a partial distraction.

    But also remember that this period generated the White Australia Policy which was clearly designed to keep out the Chinese and the Japanese.

  142. Dave55, on March 27th, 2009 at 10:32 am

    Thanks for the response.

    a better understanding of the meaning behind these art forms would, I am sure, increase our appreciation of them.

    Indeed! been to many, many sites of rock art across Australia and its essential that one seeks explanations from an expert otherwise it can be seen as graffiti.

    The Australian ecosystem is VASTLY different to the european and mediterranean one that we get most of our farming practices from. Aboriginals lived on this continent for between 40000 and 100000 years before the egyptians and greeks became a force

    Yes! But the Aborigines never farmed the land. Certainly they didn’t stuff it up because they didn’t do much with it. Just light harvesting and then moving on. Not sure if that ‘knowledge’ would be particularly useful today.

    I question whether any objection to the statement on this basis really understands the significance of it.

    That’s about my position as well.

  143. Wave, wave..where are you Miglo? Re the Aboriginals never farmed the land. Oh yes they certainly did.

    It just wasn’t in the English sense of the term ‘farming’ of neatly furrowed fields. An example among many is:

    Aboriginal people in southeast Australia burnt their land to stimulate the growth of plant tubers that formed half of their diet,

    I like this quote from: http://www.abc.net.au/science/news/stories/s1398157.htm

    ….the health of Aboriginal people prior to European arrival proves they were managing the land in a sustainable way.

    “If you are healthy after using the land for 40,000 years, you’re obviously doing something right,” she says.

  144. Hi Min,

    Just back from lunch.

    The Aborigines certainly farmed, in a sense, but not in a way that we Europeans understood. Their farm was the whole land.

    Australian Aborigines were the world’s first (and best)conservationists and their farming methods reflected this.

  145. Just so everybody knows: the oldest archaeological evidence of Aboriginal occupation in Australia is 63,000 years, from a rock shelter in Queensland. It would naturally extend back further than that but the evidence has not yet turned up.

    The old belief that they have been here for 40,000 was based on C14 (carbon 14) dating, which has a limit of 40,000 years only. More reliable dating procedures are now used.

  146. Thanks Legion. I only read the first paragraph, but I know about this from uni. Not only were the eels ‘farmed’, but they were preserved alive in damp wells.

    There goes another misconception.

  147. Migs. While I have you. You know that Pitinjarra saying (insult) meaning one’s manly bit is stuck to one’s nose. I ran it by daughter (don’t worry she’s 24yrs old..as in a grown up daughter).

    Ez’s reply was that she thought that humans haven’t changed a lot given that the Pitinjarra insult is probably 20,000+years old. Imagine that..a 20,000 year old insult.

    Just a thought…

  148. Min, do you mean the insult I gave Walrus?

  149. PS – that wasn’t a traditional Pitjantjatjara insult, it was me using the Pitjantjatjara to tell Walrus that there was a penis resting on his chin.

  150. By the way N5, I think one of the words I was referring to is “dadirri”.

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