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Task

Use the comparison/contrast method to develop an essay on one of the


following topics:

a) an ethnic or racial stereotype and a member of the ethnic or racial group

b) two musical groups.

The Aborigines and the Native Americans:

A Compare and Contrast Essay

The Aborigines and the Native Americans have a lot in common. They are
both people groups that are indigenous to a certain area. The Europeans came in
and took over both of these peoples homelands. The Europeans did not
understand the peoples, and therefore did not treat them well. They pushed the
natives out of their lands and took over. As compensation for the horrible things
the natives went through at the hands of the new settlers, the natives were given
small plots of land. Although these lands did not make up for all that happened,
they were and attempt by the government to appease the natives. This did not
work very well to placate the natives, as there are still many conflicts between
the natives and the government hundreds of years after the natives were pushed
from their homes. Since they experienced some of the same things, both of these
groups have some of the same feelings about the countries that came in and
conquered them.
The Aborigines are the native peoples of Australia. They migrated to
Australia approximately 50,000 years ago from the mainland of Asia. When these
people migrated to Australia, they didnt know what to expect. No one had ever
lived there before and they couldnt send people ahead to scout out the area
because they had no other options. When the Aborigines arrived in Australia,
they were greeted by an area of hostile land and temperamental climates. These
factors proved to be very challenging for the Aborigines. They had to learn to live
from the land and survive in the rapidly changing weather.
After living from the land for hundreds of years, the Aborigines learned to
hunt the animals that were native to the area, to fish in the waters on the coasts,
and to eat of the plants that were already growing in the area. These plants
included coconuts, berries, and some other fruits and root crops native to the
area. The Aborigines also domesticated some of the animals for hunting
purposes. It is believed that the Aborigines brought the dingoes over with them
from Asia for use as domesticated hunting dogs.
It is possible that before the Europeans arrived in Australia, there could
have been as many as one and a quarter million Aborigines living on the
continent. These people were separated into approximately 500 groups, these
groups ranged in size from 6 to 30 people. These people lived in all different parts
of the country, with the majority of the people centered on the coasts and the
banks of the major rivers. Since these people lived in separate areas, their
cultures developed a little differently. For instance, they developed many different
languages. There were originally over 250 different Aboriginal languages, but
since the overtaking by the British, most of the languages are dead, with only 50
of the Aboriginal languages still being spoken today.
When the Europeans first landed in Australia, they did not understand the
people there. They spoke different languages, had different customs, and lived in
very different ways. The Europeans were living in the period of the
enlightenment, while the Aborigines were living in the Stone Age. The Europeans
thought the Aborigines to be a very primitive people, and therefore they would be
doing them a favor by taking over the lands and implementing their own
government over the Aborigines.
The first problem with the British arrival showed up soon after they landed.
This was the wave of European endemic diseases such as smallpox, chickenpox,
measles, and influenza. The Aborigines had not been exposed to these diseases
before, and were therefore severely susceptible to them. The worst hit areas were
those that had higher population densities, mainly those on the coasts. This is
because the proximity of the people allowed for very quick transfer of the
disease. The areas that were further inland and spread out more werent hit as
badly because the people did not live as close to each other, which made it
harder for the diseases to spread and easier to keep the infected people isolated.
Another group of diseases brought over to Australia by the British were the
venereal diseases. The Aborigines had no tolerance to these diseases, which
caused a rapid drop in the Aboriginal birthrates. These diseases exponentially
depleted the Aboriginal population in a very short period of time, soon after the
arrival of the foreigners.
The second consequence of the British arrival also caused the death of
many Aborigines. This consequence stemmed from the British misunderstanding
of the Aboriginal people. When they first arrived, the British believe the
Aborigines to be a nomadic people. This belief led them to think that pushing the
Aborigines off of land that was useful for farming and into other areas would
make no difference. They believed that the Aborigines would be just a happy in a
new area as they were in their current land. The British couldnt have been more
wrong. The Aborigines had lived in their areas for a long time and had learned to
live from the food and water sources that were present in their lands. The loss of
their food and water sources and the death of many people due to diseases
wiped out large populations of Aborigines. The final problem caused by the
Europeans taking the land is that the Aborigines land had a special meaning in
their religious and cultural practices. Without the land the Aborigines could not
carry out life as they always had, and many of them died because of it.
The third consequence of the British arrival in Australia is still seen today.
When the British settled in Australia, they brought alcohol, opium, and tobacco
with them. These caused a problem because many of the Aborigines became
addicted to these substances and then died from them. This problem is still
present today in the fact that of the remaining Aborigines, most of them are
addicted to at least one if not more than one of these substances. The
combination of these three consequences caused the Aboriginal population to
drop by nearly 90% between 1788, when the British established their first
settlement, to 1900. Some Aboriginal communities were completely wiped out
before the Europeans even tried to make contact with them because the diseases
had spread to them from other Aboriginal groups and some had been pushed
from their homes by other Aboriginal groups seeking homes after the Europeans
took theirs.
The Europeans also great restrictions on what the Aborigines could do.
These restrictions included restrictions on education, job opportunities, voting
and serving in the army. In 1900, there was a ban on Aboriginal voting in
Australia. This ban said that minorities could not vote in provincial elections, and
that anyone who could not vote in provincial elections could not vote in federal
elections either. In 1908, Australia begins to provide social security for older
people, but does not include Aborigines. In 1909, 22 Aboriginal schools were
opened, and there were restrictions written to prevent Aboriginal children from
attending public school with the other children. In 1912, the Australian
government introduces maternity allowance, but did not include Aborigines. In
1914, the government prevents Aborigines from serving in the military, but
roughly 1200 Aboriginal men still enlisted, claiming to be Maori or Indian. The list
of events like this goes on and on, and it was not until 1967 that the Aborigines
were allowed to be counted in the census as Australian citizens, and they could
not vote until 1983.
Most of what happened to the Aborigines is exactly what happened to the
Native Americans. The Europeans came in and took over the land; they carried
diseases that spread to and wiped out much of the Native American populations;
they restricted the rights of the Native Americans; and they introduced them to
harmful substances that they are still known for using to this day. The other thing
that the Native Americans and the Aborigines have in common is that they both
now live on reservations established by their countries governments to keep
them separate from the general population. Neither the Aborigines nor the Native
Americans consider this to be fair. They consider it a feeble attempt by the
government to pay them back for all of the hardships they were put through for
over a hundred years. These reservations have caused disputes in both areas.
When a valuable natural resource is discovered on a reservation, the government
wants to be able to come in and mine it, but the natives will not allow it. They say
that it is their land and that the government has no claim to it. This is why the
large stores of uranium on the Aboriginal lands have not been mined. The
Aborigines have no use for the uranium, but it is on their land, and therefore the
government has no claim to it.
In conclusion, the Aborigines and the Native Americans have been treated
the same way by the Europeans. They were stripped of their land and their rights
and were treated very poorly. This has given them a common factor in their
history that makes them more closely related than either group probably realizes.
This also shows the inhumanity of people, especially the European settlers. That
they would come in and take another mans property and home and kick them
out to die for personal gain. It really makes one think about the general lack of
kindness, generosity, and human sympathy in the world.