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Running head: Kristy Snell EDU10005. ASS2.


European colonialism has affected the lives of Indigenous Australians throughout history and up until the present time. Colonialism is a relationship between an Indigenous majority and minority of foreign invaders with the colonisers convinced of their own superiority and ordained mandate to rule (Osterhammel, 2005). The following essay contains two parts (A and B). Part A describes European colonialism and the effects on the lives of Indigenous Australians. From European settlement in 1788 the actions and events that took place have shaped and portray the history that Australia has today. Europeans held the misconception that Indigenous Australians had no claims to the land as they claimed it to be terra nullius (an empty land), therefore stripping the Indigenous Australians of their homes, their lands and their rights. Through intentional actions of the British to convert the Indigenous people to European civilization, confrontations and relationships between the two became evident, leading to unequal relations between the colonialists and the Indigenous population. Part B describes the support of teaching and learning Indigenous Australian languages within the education system, and what can be done to support Indigenous culture and history. Part A On January 26th 1788, Captain Arthur Phillip along with 290 sailors, marines and officials, and 717 convicts made their way by sea to arrive in Port Jackson and release the anchor in Warrang- Sydney Cove (Harrison, 2011). The British invaded this land that belonged to the Indigenous Australians from the Gadigal clan. Throughout Australia in the 1700s there were approximately 1,000,000 Indigenous people across Australia divided into 700 tribes consisting of many clans and extended family groups (Harrison, 2011). According to Harrison (2011) each

Running head: Kristy Snell EDU10005. ASS2. Essay

tribe had their own territories, political systems, laws and languages that were established by the Indigenous Australians. These systems proved to be effective as Aboriginal culture is over 1,000,000 years old. Many Indigenous Australians see themselves as autochthonous- that they have always been here; their life began thousands of years ago when the ancestors gave life to the land animals and people (Harrison, 2011). Throughout the 1780s Joseph Banks claimed the natives were peaceful and would soon abandon the land to new comers when he founded Botany Bay to be suitable for settlement as the British assumed that Indigenous Australians had no claims to the land (National Film and Sound Archive, 2012). European colonialism continued to take over the Indigenous Australians land and rights for decades following the invasion of Europeans immigrating to a land that was not theirs to claim as their own. Phillips 1788 settlement marked the start of regular contact between Europeans and the Indigenous Australians. Although many Aborigines used the land around Sydney as their dwellings and hunting domains, only a few major confrontations took place between the colonists and the indigenous population in the first decade of white settlement (Australian Migration, 2014). The official colonial policy throughout the 19th century was to treat the Aborigines as equals, with the intention of eventually converting them to Christianity and European civilization (Australian Migration, 2014). After the claims of Australias states and territories by the British government, the chief protector in each state had enormous power over Indigenous people. Governors responded in ways to teach the Indigenous people a lesson, in turn leading to fear and distrust of Europeans, avoiding them as much as possible regarding their culture as violent,

Running head: Kristy Snell EDU10005. ASS2. Essay brutal and uncivilized (NFSA, 2012). Colonialism can be seen as the establishment, exploration and expansion of colonies within a territory by people from another territory; a set of unequal relationships between the colonialists and the Indigenous population continued for many years throughout Australia. The British treated Australia as terra nullius, a Latin term meaning empty land. The doctrine of terra nullius remained the law in Australia throughout the colonial period (1700s) right up to 1993. Indigenous Australians adapted to extraordinary climate change, vastly different environmental realities, brutal invasion and conquest of their country (Boyce, 2008). European

colonialism had detrimental effects on the Indigenous Australians such as the Smallpox epidemic in 1789. It has been estimated that between 50 and 70 per cent of the Indigenous population in the Sydney area died within two years of the British arrival (My Place, 2011). Due to the lack of immunity within the Indigenous people, Smallpox deaths had profound effects on the social organization of their tribes and clans affecting Elders, pregnant women and young children. Government policy saw the era of the stolen generations, the generations of Indigenous people taken away from their families and remained in government policy until 1969. This affected the Indigenous people immensely, as almost every Aboriginal family was affected in one way or another. The removal of Indigenous people from their families had profound repercussions for many Indigenous Australians continuing into the present day. Government authorities disapproved of miscegenation and these children were removed as it was considered that the Aboriginality could be bred out of the child (Harrison, 2011). Throughout 1937-1960 Indigenous people were expected to live like non-indigenous people, adopting their cultures and language, known as the Assimilation Policy (Harrison, 2011).

Running head: Kristy Snell EDU10005. ASS2. Essay During the 1960s the Assimilation policy was replaced by Integration, allowing Indigenous people a choice to join the non-indigenous communities on equal terms (Harrison, 2011).

European colonialism was a harsh and devastating movement creating racism, beliefs and judgments based on views on the British wanting to create a settlement as they had problems with crime, violence and overcrowded jails. Colonialism caused Indigenous Australians to resort to destroying crops, animals, non-indigenous people, to attempt to regain control over their land and entitlements. Indigenous Australians gained constitutional rights decades later as citizens in 1967, followed by the first Indigenous Australian to be elected into federal parliament in 1972 (NFSA, 2012). Indigenous Australians lost their freedom, rights and privilege to exist when European colonialism invaded Australia beginning in 1788. Indigenous people were driven from their lands on died from unfamiliar diseases; as they were nomadic hunter-gatherers, they faced risk of starvation as colonization created a prevention to roam freely over their lands to search for food (Cultural Anthropology, 2011). Due to colonialism, much of the Indigenous culture was lost. Indigenous culture is told in the Dreaming, a time of creation in history, present and future where the spirits of the Indigenous people created the land, animals and people. The Dreaming stories reinforce prior Indigenous knowledge regarding sacred places, behaviour and land formations, that are passed down through generations to keep the story alive today. Traditional customs are also passed down through stories and demonstrations regarding connection to country and Indigenous languages. Country to Indigenous Australians means looking after and respecting my temple as it is my mother, my brother, siblings, animals and land as we are all one (Reconciliation Australia, 2010).

Running head: Kristy Snell EDU10005. ASS2. Essay

We cannot undo the atrocities that were committed in the founding of this nation, nor the many wrongs that have been done since. We can relearn our past and understand the choices made by our predecessors were not inevitable but were just that- choices (Maddison, 2011). Part B Early Childhood Australia (2012) states that a reconciliation plan involving respect, connect and enact to incorporate the transformation that moves ideologies from ignorance and racism to respect, from inequity and prejudice to justice, from inaction and fear to hope with the one promise for a strong future for every child is realized. Through actively engaging with Indigenous leaders and organisations, and to support effective national representation for Indigenous communities and children, by building relationships to drive for a positive change. Theory and practice are required to respond to acceptance of diversity, social cohesion, national identity, inclusive citizenship, empowerment and equity for Indigenous minorities (Nichol, 2011). Through the consideration and incorporation of elements of Indigenous pedagogy into the education system through learning, classroom practice and developmental projects to create the underpinnings associated within particular cultural agendas. According to Craven (2011), racism is often exacerbated by misconceptions and stereotypes that are products of historic ethnocentric attitudes asserting a superiority of one group over another. Indigenous perspectives need to be embedded across all syllabus areas, not as a theory we carry around in our heads, but in the practical day to day workings of the classroom (Jorgenson, Grootenboer, Sullivan, 2013). This can be seen in the Djidi Djidi School offering bicultural education involving national curriculum and culture (SBS on Demand, 2011). Djidi Djidi (2011) offers individualized programs based on individual needs of the children, this

Running head: Kristy Snell EDU10005. ASS2. Essay program has been running for two years and attendance is at 88 per cent, with the children

willing to learn. The school day begins with didgeridoo sounding over the speakers and a cultural dance to involve children in Indigenous Australian culture. Whilst the students develop competence in Standard Australian English (SAE), their home language is respected and valued. The students are given opportunities to use home language, Noongar and SAE at school. They are taught when to appropriately use each code (Department of Education, n.d). European colonialism including its ideologies and practices has predominantly undermined the use of Indigenous languages throughout Australia. As described in part A, colonialism removed the rights of Indigenous people to continue their culture and practices as their rights and privileges were removed upon settlement. In 1788 there were 250 distinct Indigenous languages in Australia, with each clan/tribe having its personal territory, political system, laws and languages (Harrison, 2011). Throughout 1937-1960s Indigenous people were expected to live aside non-indigenous people and to adopt their culture and language (Harrison, 2011). Through later government actions and policies reconciliation through building relationships plays a key part in such an integral part of Australian history. Developing knowledge and appreciation for Indigenous cultures through the education system to support the teaching and learning of Indigenous languages, as culture is part of Australian history. Bilingual education programs have no necessary detrimental effect on the learning of the dominant language and of mainstream subjects; in fact they may enhance learning in all curricular areas. Such programs create a strong link between the community and its culture, and decrease the alienation felt by Indigenous students in schools where teaching is by members of

Running head: Kristy Snell EDU10005. ASS2. Essay

the dominant community and takes place in a language which is not the students mother tongue (Simpson, Caffery & McConvell, 2009). Children begin to notice differences and construct their own classifications and evaluate categories at a young age. Society and bias influence childrens concepts, regarding Indigenous people according to history as the minority despite their existence for thousands of years. Throughout history it was thought that Indigenous Australians lacked in societal rules, governs, concepts and languages therefore were mistakenly portrayed as the minority compared to European settlers. This created the stereotypical beliefs that Indigenous people must adapt to European culture, through the removal of children to be placed in institutions. These actions meant that the Indigenous children were removed from their families, their culture, their community and their languages with the expectation to succumb to European culture. As this continued for decades Indigenous children were isolated from their cultural heritage, forced into learning European language, behaviour and culture through harsh educational systems and missions. The importance today of the Dreamings creates a bridge between the lost time in history and the present, enabling children to learn Indigenous Australian culture and language. Educators need to have an understanding of historical events such as European colonialism and the correct events that took place, perhaps to open their eyes and minds to an attitude that enables repair, regrowth, retelling and including Indigenous Australian culture within educational practices today. As discussed in part A and B, European colonialism has had devastating effects on the Indigenous people of Australia. The era of disease and the stolen generations affected Indigenous Australians almost beyond repair, and history gained a grim history full of tension,

Running head: Kristy Snell EDU10005. ASS2. Essay misconceptions, inequality and damaging persona. Much work has been done through government policies to repair the damage that has already been done. Implementing Indigenous Australian culture and perspectives that are supported within the education systems allow Indigenous and non-Indigenous children to build new relationships and repair previous beliefs and attitudes. The Dreaming is an important part of Indigenous Australian culture. This is required to be passed on and taught to children to gain the lost and perhaps forgotten past of the true Indigenous Australians.

Running head: Kristy Snell EDU10005. ASS2. Essay References Australian Migration. (2014). Retrieved from: Boyce, J. (2008). Van Diemens Land. Melbourne, Victoria: Black Inc Craven, R. (2011). Teaching Aboriginal studies a practical resource for primary and secondary teaching (2nd ed.). Crows Nest: Allen and Unwin.(Chapter 3). Cultural Anthropology. (2011). Retrieved from: Department of Education. (n.d). Djidi Djidi Aborigional School. Retrieved from: Early Childhood Australia. (2012). Respect, Connect, Enact a Reconciliation Action plan for Early Childhood Australia 20122016. Retrieved from 2-2016+RAP.pdf Harrison, N. (2011). Teaching and learning in Aboriginal education. South Melbourne, Victoria: Oxford University Press.

Running head: Kristy Snell EDU10005. ASS2. Essay Jorgenson, R., Grootenboer, P., & Sullivan, P. (2013). Pedagogies to enhance learning for Indigenous students. Evidence-based practice. Dordrecht: Springer. (pp. 1- 20). Maddison, S. (2011). Referendum, reconciliation and apology. in Beyond white guilt: The real challenge for black-white relations in Australia. Sydney: Allen and Unwin. (pp. 129143) My Place. (2011). Australia in the 1780s.Retrieved from:

10 &subTabRank=2 National Film & Sound Archive. (2012). Australian History Timeline [screen capture]. Retrieved from Nichol, R. (2011). Growing up Indigenous. Developing Effective Pedagogy for Education and Development. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. (pp. 1-21) Osterhammel, J. (2005). Colonialism: A Theoretical Overview. Princeton, NJ: Markus Wiener Publishers. Reconciliation Australia. (2010). Welcome to and Acknowledgement of Country. Retrieved from

Running head: Kristy Snell EDU10005. ASS2. Essay SBS on Demand (2011) Djidi Djidi [Image and news broadcast] Retrieved from:


Simpson, J., Caffery, J., McConvell, P. (2009). Gaps in Australias Indigenous Language Policy: Dismantling bilingual education in the Northern Territory. Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. Retrieved from: