View Full Version here: : Reconciliation
03-02-2008, 03:25 PM
Non-political Reconciliation/intro post
Hi everyone – a couple of things have prompted me to post on the abovementioned topic; and I thought in doing so (after 60 odd posts) that a more complete introduction of myself was also relevant to the members of this fantastic forum (IIS) I have been fortunate to (only recently) join.
With the imminent opening of the newest session of parliament, the delivery of (for many) the long-awaited Apology to Indigenous Australians by our PM has become a current talking point. It is, and let me personally re-state this, not an apology that carries any sense of personal responsibility by Australian citizens for any of what has best been described as “the wrongs and injustices of the past.”
But before I venture any further, let me do the right thing and properly introduce myself. I am a (rapidly not getting any younger!?) man, residing in Adelaide, who has had the good fortune to have had an Irish-German father, and an Aboriginal-English mother, whose own (maternal) grandmother was a tribal girl from South Australia’s west coast: a member of the Kokatha group (pronounced cooker-ta) – part of the Western Desert nation of Australian Aborigines. Thus my forum sobriquet – Kokatha man.
I grew up in the 50s and early 60s where, unfortunately, discrimination was an ugly reality: but in trying to “finger” any particular catalyst for my interest in astronomy, I can only rationalize the following circumstances. Being an enterprising young fella, I earnt considerable “pocket-money” by collecting bottles at the local footy matches for their refund deposit and catching yabbies in the local waterways (not much life in them now I’m afraid) - selling them to the fishing tackle store – 9 pence a dozen for the correct sized ones, used for catching yellow-belly and ponde (callop and Murray cod) - and on a Friday night/Saturday morning me and my mate Ralph would haul up, with pieces of meat on strings, up to 60 or so dozen of em – to the point where sometimes we were told “to give it a rest for a couple of weeks lads” by the store owners (who froze them.)
Ralph, a lifelong friend, who lived across the road, was not Aboriginal: and he really was the first person to teach me that being racist had nothing to do with your cultural background – but far more to do with your intellectual capacity (measured by both logical/rational, and emotional maturity, quotients.)
His parents bought him, when we were about 7 years old, a “Newtonian reflector” and in memories’ hindsight it just about looked like the one old Isaac first invented! A tripod with legs about a foot long, a ball and bracket/claw above this and a tiny 2”-2.5 inch (50-60mm) scope with a “push-pull” ep (Huygens, most probably made by Christiaan himself!) That little “scope,” and a battered pair of Zeiss 7x50s with a cracked prism on one side, were the keyholes to an infinity of aspirations. (if you’re reading this Omnivorr, they’re the real “busted K-Mart noccies”)
Well, that was it, cut down on the lollies, comics and Saturday arvo flicks Darryl, and soak up anything/everything I could on astronomy. At nine years old joining the ASSA and grinding/polishing my very own 6 inch mirror: god knows what they thought of this skinny (unfortunately not-so-now) very young and small Aboriginal kid rolling up in the city unaccompanied in the dark to listen to the night’s speakers; or out at the old horse-stable rooms at the Marryatville Technical High to attend scope-making sessions, with Ronchi and Foucault jerry-rigged devices. My head spun with aspirations; I could lay out there in the night-time and reel off the names of dozens of stars: what fantastic and awe-inspiring words of power and knowledge they were: Rigel, Saiph, Fomalhaut, Betelguese, Achernar, Hamal, Alpheratz, The Great Nebula in Orion and the Jewel-Box cluster etc etc: I was going to be an astronomer, I would be involved in and discover all manner of wonders! But I was really only an Aboriginal kid in a society that (in general) only reserved the opportunity to expand your horizons according to certain dictates, and by the time I was 15 or so, though the wonder and interest stilled glowed in me, the realities and issues of an Aboriginal teenager struggling to grow and survive had dulled my optimism and aspirations: cynicism, bitterness and reactivity spiralled off into years of aimlessness and wasted time…….
But I did come back, thanks to principally (initially) the support within Adelaide’s Aboriginal “community” and then, as my confidence grew and a career that still draws on that skinny little kid’s sense of wonder expanded my horizons and sense of self-worth and validity; I started to think again as I cut back on workloads about those nights long ago……………
I can be too flippant as well as too pedantic and serious, argumentative and (still) reactive: but as one protagonist in some inconsequential forum argy-bargy noted as his final post on the matter; it really is about “being civil” (thanks JB.)
And that point best sums up the point I’d like to make about the upcoming parliamentary event: Reconciliation and “saying sorry” are ultimately about “being civil” and civilized about something that anyone with an ounce of nous recognizes as a “sorry” aspect of Australia’s past: that expressing sorrow for past policies and attitudes is neither owning/accepting guilt personally about these realities of history or compromising any of our individual characters with guilt or recrimination: it is an expression of understanding, or awareness, of past injustice: a response any mature and confident person can endorse – as John said: “in the interest of being civil.”
Thanks if you’ve read through this tome: I’d just like to say once again that I’m privileged to have “discovered” this forum. Regards, Darryl.
03-02-2008, 04:07 PM
The best description i have ever seen. Goodnes begins with kindness and that comes only from a civilized maturity.
03-02-2008, 04:08 PM
Thanks for such a considered posting.
It surprises me the difficulty some have coming to grips with the fact that our society could do anything wrong at all...
I saw Mr Abbott making a comment about it and all he could do was drift to all the reasons why "they" may have been right with little or no understanding that no matter how one tries to justfy the notions that what happened was in someone best interest that there were abuses and mistakes and we really should say that we are sorry about that... and as you have observed you can be sorry without being the person who caused any harm..
I am very sorry that for whatever reason that to say "sorry" just gets caught in some folks craw... it says little about their ability for compassion.
It will be a very good thing for the appology to be made.
03-02-2008, 05:06 PM
Nice to meet you Darryl. :thumbsup:
I vividly remember to taking the bottles to the counter of the local fish and chip shop
for the refund deposit ..lolllies and hot chips were an ample reward for all the hard work we did gathering up that glass...and when the owner took them out back and stacked them in a crate we would go back later in the week and gather them up again.:whistle:.....I realise now this was "probably" a little wrong but trying to find a positive in this at least it installed within all of us the notion that to recycle is good .
03-02-2008, 06:55 PM
Loved your post Darryl, to some Sorry is rearly the hardest word.
I am looking forward to the day when it is finaly said.
04-02-2008, 10:26 AM
Hello, Darryl, I don't think we've conversed before.
I sometimes wonder whether those of us who have some Australian aboriginal lineage really give a tinker's cuss about someone saying 'sorry'. If that truly is the case, then why? I doubt that any non-aboriginal would not ascribe to that view in our current age.
Don't, please, get me wrong. If Mr Rudd wishes to offer an apology I will not be complaining. Let the legal eagles sort out the mess afterwards. I'd like to see some sort of centralised study and remedial action taken on such things as:
Education (including getting children to school) which involves parents in the final "equation"
Responsibility (which includes getting up off your arse and doing something rather than waiting for the dole day or the local petrol tanker). Responsibility also means ridding oneself of the nepotism and general corruption (or at least the misdirection of funds provided by all Australians) which, at least from my reading, has been endemic - no doubt assisted by bureaucrats who couldn't care less.
Pride (as opposed to being a 'victim'). I am English by stock, does that make me evil? I'm proud of my background as much as I am of my being an Australian resident for the past fifty-odd years even though in both cases I acknowledge that my forebears were not perfect. Incidentally I'm still waiting an apology from all the nations/clans/tribes who invaded my motherland.
OK, Darryl, I jest, but with serious undertones. As a white fella I too used to earn a few quid as a youngster. In my case it was pumping petrol on the weekends (10/- per day) or caddying at the local golf course (12/- as I had a 'regular') and finding and collecting lost golf balls and selling them to the pro shop (that was more remunerative than caddying, to be honest). Prior to that it was window cleaning - 6d per window, inside and out, bring your own gear) whilst at the same time breeding white mice (please don't ask me to where they went; I didn't) and selling them at 2/- each.
I think, Darryl, that you and I grew up at the same time. Our experiences are really not all that different.
04-02-2008, 12:01 PM
John you said ........I'm still waiting an apology from all the nations/clans/tribes who invaded my motherland....
So dont you feel ticked off that no one appologised...
that is the point really without getting too deep an appology as seems proposed would be nice and we are in the happy situation now where we can make it.
I think it is the decent thing to do.
04-02-2008, 02:21 PM
yep well said Darryl, I too am pleased that finally the formal apology is about to happen! it is exciting to think that we can all move on as a nation very soon.
I sometimes get a little annoyed when aussies who's ancestry wasnt involved in the early settlement of this country, say it was completely utterly nothing to do with them, which is technicallly true. But if you move to this country, you are by a maybe very tenuous proxy, or association, very indirectly partaking in the 'spoils' of the colonisation of oz. not that that means they should feel guilty, but they shouldnt feel so righteously removed from these things, and so morally superior somehow.
It is hypocritical to me to point fingers at the early white australians, and then buy/own land and profit from that was once aboriginal lands!! and pretend you have no 'blood on your hands'! even if it is just the faintest of traces.
Also annoys me that, sometimes i get the impression? that some new australians think that the indigenous peoples were all directly wiped out by direct bloody murder! when i fact that overwhelming vast enormous majority of deaths as the result of british colonisation, was from introduced diseases, to which the indigenous people had no immunity of course, just like the rest of the so called 'new world' the americas for instance. (where i read in some cases they intentionally distrubuted blankets infested with a vector bugs being lice? which were carrying the usual deadly diseases, smallpox ect.?)
i have read that the combined aboriginal pop. at time of discovery/invasion, depending on your point of view, may of been as much as 1 million, australia wide, and this diminished to a few hundred thousand? after diseases made their way through the nations. But i find it interesting that natural restraints kept it to 1 mill. or less, the theoretical pop. limit of oz?
Those same kind of people that indiscrimitarily murdered aboriginals, still make the headlines shooting seals, dolphins, whales, kicking quokkas to death, and the like today. they are still out there. all over the world. IMO
I know a young fella, a computer programmer/ code jockey who has direct lineage to the whalers of KI, the original white settlers of SA, who ALL had aboriginal wives i believe, (european women werent large in number in those days?) as did his direct ancestor. And he is as white as the driven snow, positively nordic looking master race type, but they dont make a fuss about it, and it is just a conversation piece, like a few others with very distant diluted aboriginal heritage i have known.
anyway, looking forward to the end of feb ;)
04-02-2008, 03:28 PM
does anyone else find it delicously ironic that the 'white european man' is struggling with the intense 'work ethic' of some of Asia? nearly as big a culture shock as the original australians would of found with the european style 'work ethic' i hazard a guess?
04-02-2008, 03:42 PM
I personally do not like the seperate title of 'Aboriginal' when people talk about 'Aboriginals'. It gets used as an un-noticed form of segregation.
Picture the scenario: A man goes into a hardware store and asks a salesman where the spanners are. The salesman says "over in aisle 3 near where that aboriginal man is standing". Why must he say 'Aboriginal Man'. Why can't he just say "near where that man is standing". Yes, pedantic maybe. But it urks me.
I was fortunate enough to be brought up without prejudice towards any race.
I had a friend in Primary School (Aboriginal) and I truly did not notice any difference for years until someone called her a dirty blacky!!! I didn't understand why they were picking on her. That's how colour-blind I was.
In my 20's my 3 best mates were 'Aboriginal', and yet I never referred to them as such. They were my mates, that was all. Not my black mates.
And now, the good news (to me anyway). My childrens birth mother (left us over 10 years ago), and her brother both have a slight 'Aboriginal' appearance to them. Him more than her.
Their mother (long dead) had been partnered with many men over her life and some where aboriginal.
My 2 boys display certain 'Aboriginal' characteristics in their looks and skin tone. So much so that it was only about 2-3 weeks ago one of my sons asked if they are Aboriginal! (my daughter doesn't carry this similarity).
Why is it good news to me? Because I am proud to have children that may be (even only in part) indigenous Australians!!!! I think that is exciting.
I will never know for sure if they are part indigenous as their grandmother is long gone and no-one knows her past.
It doesn't bother me either way, but it would be nice to know that my children have a direct 'blood' connection with this land!
04-02-2008, 04:39 PM
i reckon it is great where this is heading, ie the apology and hope like hell, that over the next generation, education and pride and other areas already mentioned helps to bring us together.
i agree with ken, cant i just call them mate???
04-02-2008, 04:51 PM
To me it is self evident that we are all partaking of the spoils of invasion by simply being here. No amount of weasel words will exonerate any one of us from this simple fact.
Is it not illegal under our system to buy or possess stolen goods?
I find a real sense of irony in people who were convicted and transported for something as minor as stealing a loaf of bread, then they collectively set about stealing a whole continent!
Saying sorry is only the first step to correct all the wrongs of the past. No amount of rationalising such as "they really meant it all for the best" will excuse a policy of defragmentation of families and hence whole societies by the very policy guidelines. I thought I would add if it was not 'policy' it certainly was practice! Sir Humphrey of Yes Minister.
The "Australian History" taught to me in the fifties was the biggest whitewash I have ever experienced. The pun was fully intended!
Can you imagine if the the real owners of this land had taken the children of the early settlers to free them from the brutality and near famine that the first colony was was subjected to by distance and circumstance. We would never hear the end of the negative statements made!
Meanwhile earlier on my ancestors (mob) were doing a very good job of 'civilising' the Dutch East Indies way before Captain Cook 'discovered' Australia.
Nothing has changed. There are still injustices being perpetrated worldwide. That does not make it correct.
We all of us have got to start somewhere! Acknowledgement of past wrongs is a good place to start.
What we fail to realise at our peril that the indigenous people of Australia were eating better tens of thousands of years before than the King of England in Medieval times.
04-02-2008, 06:14 PM
There is no reason why not.
But getting people to be colour-blind is an entirely different matter. I can't imagine a blind person being racist. Apart from any accent, how would they know. Maybe we could learn a lot from the blind in this matter.
There is also the over-the-top anti-racist who maybe doesn't even know he is racist.
On meeting a black person (or even a Muslim, or Asian) tries to prove he isn't racist by going out of their way to be extra nice or extra friendly. :screwy:
This is still a form of segregation because they 'single out' the race, maybe to prove to themself and others that they aren't racist. Wierd huh!
05-02-2008, 07:40 AM
Thank you for the moving post.... this made the papers here in Hawaii yesterday. i have always seen your people as this worlds Elders and have the utmost respect for them. As we reevaluate what we are doing to this planet i've often thought that there are people with sustainable traditions that can help us to get back on track. The short list would be the American Indians (my Great Grandma was full Black Foot), Africans, Amazonians, &
the Aboriginals of OZ. These people have been the good care-takers of our
Mother Earth and have earned the title of our "Elders"... IMHO.
Thank you again for your post and to the moderators of this forum who support our free speech.
oh yea, when you wrote:
I could lay out there in the night-time and reel off the names of dozens of stars: what fantastic and awe-inspiring words of power and knowledge they were: Rigel, Saiph, Fomalhaut, Betelguese, Achernar, Hamal, Alpheratz, The Great Nebula in Orion and the Jewel-Box cluster etc etc: I was going to be an astronomer, I would be involved in and discover all manner of wonders!
i think all of us here can relate to having this same Cosmic Connection!
May you & yours always be in fine health and great calm,
with gratitude and warm aloha,
Lance aka "abellhunter"
p.s Anza is a town in California not to be confused with Anzac! LOL!:lol:
05-02-2008, 08:15 AM
It is funny, I was trying to explain to my 7 yr old daughter why we are saying sorry next week.
She had heard inklings of what had happened with the stolen generation ie they took their children away and was trying to compute the whole situation.
Trying to relate how the aboriginals were doing fine before the english arrived and how they now have a long long way to go to get out of poverty was very hard when explaining to a 7yr old who sees in black and white (situations not ethnicity).
It was lovely to hear her just wanting people to say sorry and then be nice to each other as if it was the most natural thing in the world to do......and by the tone of this thread, that is the way it should be
I have had enough of the politically correct BS. This is how I feel. If the moderators erase this, they are part of the problem. I have as much right to my say too.
Am I a Racist???
Someone finally said it.
How many are actually paying attention to this?
There are Aboriginals,
Boat People from all over the place., etc.
And then there are just Australians.
You pass me on the street and sneer in my Direction.
You Call Me
' Australian Dog',
And that's OK.
But when I call you, Black Fella,
Gook, or Chink,
You call Me a Racist.
You say that whites commit a lot of violence against you,
so why are the Housing Commission estates the most dangerous places to Live?
You have the Aboriginal Schools.
You have Sorry Day.
You have Yom Hashoah
You have Ma'uled Al-Nabi.
If we had WET (White Entertainment Television), we'd be racists.
If we had a White Pride Day. You would call us racists.
If we had White Culture Month, we'd be racists.
If we had any organization for only whites to'advance' OUR lives . We'd be racists.
If we had a University fund that only gave white Students
scholarships..... You know we'd be racists.
'White colleges' .THAT would be a racist college.
You can march for your race and rights.
If we marched for our race and rights, You would call us racists.
You are proud to be black, brown, yellow and orange,
and you're not afraid to announce it.
But when we announce our white pride you call us racists.
You rob us, bash our kids,steal from us, and shoot at us.
But, when a white police officer shoots a Muslim gang member or beats up a
Lebanese drug-dealer running from the law and posing a threat to society,
You call him a racist.
I am proud. But, you call me a racist.
Why is it that only whites can be racists?
05-02-2008, 10:57 AM
Bravo, Great post Kokatha Man.
05-02-2008, 11:31 AM
My ex-wife was my childhood sweetheart I met in highschool. At the time she lived in the childrens home that backed onto the primary school I attended a few years earlier, but previous to that she was shipped from foster family to foster family, often as a form of cheap labour on remote area farms.
She was an Aboriginal and a ward of the state of N.S.W. and had no idea of her background, family or why she was a ward.
At age 16 she wanted to move in with me, to do this we needed permission from the Department of Community Services and have her removed from thier custody.
That was easy enough and pretty much done with the stroke of a pen and a rubber stamp.
Shortly after curiosity got the better of her and she wanted to find out who she was and where she came from.
What a nightmare of a drawn out process this turned out to be!
After 2 years of partitioning various local members and with the help of the Aboriginal legal services we were ushered into a small bare room with nothing but a desk and a guard.
We were searched going into the room and again searched going out, nothing was to be taken, copied or photographed.
Her entire life was placed on the desk infront of her in a file and we were given 45 minutes to look through it.
She had 4 brothers and a sister. her father died when she was very young and her mother lived not 10 kms from us!
She and her siblings were all removed from her mother at two to three days old whilst still in the hospital and the reason was..
"it is in the best interest of the child to be placed in alternative accommodation as there is a great likelyhood the child will not be rotated in its cot often enough and could develop a flat spot on its head resulting in mental retardation"
How they came to this conclusion when not one of the children went home from the hospital after birth is beyond me.
She since made contact with one brother, though her other siblings were lost through the maze of adoption.
She had a couple of years getting to know her mother who died a totally broken shell of a woman having all her children removed from her and never knowing why unil then.
When our daughters started school, I paid school fees every year. Every year they sent them back saying as my girls were of Aboriginal decent we were exempt. I'd send them back again explaining that if every other kid was subject to fees, so were mine, my kids were no different.
One year I got called into the school saying the school had been given a grant of X amount of $ per Aboriginal child (3 students in that school) and how would we like it spent? excursions paid for? uniforms? canteen allowance?
I suggested a selection of Aboriginal books for the library that every student could benifit from or an Aboriginal flag, but these ideas were not well recieved.
I could not seem to get through to them that by treating our children differently than the other kids, the school was in a way fostering racism.
If every other parent paid fees, so do I, if every other parent pays for a uniform or an excursion, so do I.
I didn't want other kids or parents saying "those Fisher girls get everything free 'cause they're abo's". My kids are not Abo's, they are kids just like every other kid.
My wife was born in 1967, long after the "stolen generation" supposedly came to and end, her sister she has never met was born in 1969.
I have said sorry a million times, and I'll say it a million more.
05-02-2008, 11:31 AM
Darryl, excellent commentary.
As a person who has aboriginal heritage in his veins (great gandmother) I see the real problem of our society as this. It is easy being rascist it is harder not to be. Meaning that real tolerance comes from understanding and compassion rather than blind black and white thinking (yes a pun but not intended). The grey is where all the answers lie in our existence, it is just that some not all cannot understand this simple truth or are afraid to make the step out into undefined territory.
Now as to our "friend" here. While you points are clearly made, they lie under a mistaken belief that white society has done no wrong in the past. Four hundred odd years plus of oppression by white culture across the globe with all its arrogance has got to have some kind of backlash. It is the sins of the fathers that we must now pay. When I was a kid it was the Italian and Greeks that would get beaten up side by side with the aborginal lads, just because it was seen as sporting (sic). Now when the other hand is turned it does not feel so nice does it?
Whites have been dominant so long they have forgotten what it is like to feel the sting. Now is the time to reach out with an open hand and resist the fear of having it bitten off even though it would be deserving. And; so what if this happens. Would we be so gracious? I know plenty of people who are white and call other peoples much worse things than a whitey. Have you ever noticed how the really off racist names come from white culture and not any other. This is because white culture can be so revolting when it wants to be. What is wrong with the less privileged being given a helping hand up? Have you lost your humanity that much that you cannot see that it is our moral responsibility to now attone for our sins?
Time for sorry and to hell with the consequences.
I believe you can be proud of your heritage even if you choose to live elsewhere for whatever reason. And so, as a proud Englishman turned dinky di Aussie, I accept that the English - along with many other European powers of the day - have done things which we would not be proud of nowadays, but which were 'the way it was' back then.
It's clearly no secret that, while England has done it's share of colonial exploitation, it too has suffered greatly at the hands of a series of invaders and pillagers over the centuries - Romans, Angles, Saxons, Vikings, French (Normans anyway !).
The thing is, I'd suggest that there would not be one single English person who would harbour a malicious thought against any of these races now. It just happened, and the passage of time has wiped out any thought of invasion or subjection or reprisal (with the possible exception of some good hearted banter between the French and English !).
So when does the white 'invasion' of Australia become an acceptable thing that just happened and which caused our culture to move onwards in a different direction to that in which it had been moving? At what point in time do we allow ourselves to just move on and be happy with what we now have.
All the things we now enjoy and take for granted in the developed world are a result of adventurers and discoverers of earliers times doing things that weren't always popular. It's the way it's always been and probably always will be. The ones with the money (and power !) set the rules.
This (post) could go on forever, but suffice to say I think we should be capable of just moving forward on common ground without a 'we' and 'them' attitude.
Finally, madtuna, I'm deeply touched by your story. There must be hundreds more like it unfortunately. And M110, I'm with you 100% :thumbsup:
Great post Darryl :thumbsup:
I remember collecting the old coke bottles for a 3 cent refund :lol: and by the end of the week my mates and I would enough for the Saturday movies.
05-02-2008, 09:59 PM
Well you seem to judge ALL others by the colour of the shirt they wear rather than what beats in there chest ..so my vote would be ..Yes
06-02-2008, 03:01 AM
While I normally NEVER,get involved in topics As Controversial as this,
(Amateur Radio Ethics)
I feel I also have a right to an opinion.
Like a lot of others,on this forum,I have known many Mates,Aboriginal,and Otherwise.
At 60,next birthday, I have been around a while,and Have NO DOUBT,that the Aborigional People were Very Badly/Wrongly,Treated.
BUT,I have to say this.
Just how MEANINGFUL,is an Apology,by a government of Today,that had Absolutely,nothing to do with the Mistakes,of their Predecessors.
For Example,If my Father,Stole your father's Car,
Should I, apologise to You,for his Wrongdoing.
I DIDN,T DO IT.
So Why,should I, apologise for something A previous Generation, Did Wrong.
Apologies,are in order,
BUT,it should be,from the People who did Wrong.
Lets Be Honest.
How Many of Us Will Wear,Being held Responsible,
For Something WE,Didnt do??
06-02-2008, 10:43 AM
[Alex] Waiting for an apology? No, not really. There's every chance and a bit more that I'm a product of those invasions. It'd be like a snake eating its tail - pointless. :violin:
What I'd like to see - and it does not apply to the aboriginal people as a group/nation/tribe - is trying to sort out the problems of all underprivileged people.
In saying that I mean no disrespect to Darryl. My fear is that we could be turning into the same society and with the same aims as our forefathers. The aboriginal people of this country are not pets to be pampered, they are people - just like everyone else who is lucky enough to live here. As others have said: Let's get rid of the 'us' and 'them' mind set and simply try to sort out the problems - whatever they might be.
06-02-2008, 02:05 PM
to use an analogy like that, is in fact to trivialise a very serious issue. yeh except this car was worth gadzillions and quantizillions of dollars, now and long loooong into the future, this 'car' also had 40 000 -100 000+ yrs worth of sentimental value and goodwill, the taking of this 'car' (i'm not sure if we are talking about the awesome lie of terra nullus? or the stolen generation here anymore? - the title reconciliation would imply the former?) had much more serious implications than a simple stolen car?
re stolen generation, and yes poor white unmarried mothers had the same done to them for just as long - more than a whiff of religion in that situation - what about the poor english war orphans that were forcibly and unceremoniously shipped out to oz at end of war - theres plenty of examples, and they almost invariably involve poor powerless people as alluded too already, the original australians problems, is actually at least half to do with that?
I have read, and i strongly agree with this appraisal, its as if after so long in isolation from the rest of the world, the culture shock of white colonisation was so great and shattering, that the indigenous people, in the traditional and culture purity sense of the word, like a car struck bird found by the side of the road, never ever recovered from it, to this day. the sadness too great, and too deep
06-02-2008, 08:33 PM
This is absurd. Is sadness genetically inherited? Should I be suffering posttraumatic stress syndrome because my father fought in PNG? This is just institutionalising victim hood. This is just providing excuses for people not taking responsibility for themselves and their families and community.
06-02-2008, 08:42 PM
The "stolen generation" is a romantic myth. There are no documented cases of aboriginal children being removed from their families for anything other than welfare reasons. For abuse and or neglect. There have been court cases on this. Lowitja O'Donoghue, for one, has publically admitted that she had far more opportunities after being adopted out and "looked after". The Rabbit Proof Fence movie was a great story, but it was also a work of pure fiction.
As to the poor powerless people, I think homeless, the mentally ill and abused children need to be looked after if we are to consider ourselves civilised. One of the sad trends of today is to de-institutionalise the mentally ill so that they roam the streets, and to leave aboriginal children in situations of abuse.
06-02-2008, 09:03 PM
i digress, but it is in the case of mental illness's of which they used to call melancholy, manic depression ect. is certainly inherited in many situations
again an attempt trivualise, downplay - should they just pull their socks up you reckon?
06-02-2008, 09:05 PM
i'm glad you are mentioning the effects of systemic institutionalising of people, and its results
so its all a scam eh!?
06-02-2008, 09:28 PM
As stated earlier there is more than a whiff of religion in what went on in the past re the removal of children from their parents. But it didn't just happen to indigenous people, it was applied to any mother who "they" thought wasn't fit to bring up a child in the "proper" manner. I know several people who were taken from the UK as children, brought to Aus and supposedly orphans, that found out many years later that they had a Mother, Father and siblings still living there.
It goes on today still, but nowadays its done by a bunch of Uni students working in DOCS (Educated Idiots as my old dad called them) who have no more experience of life and raising kids than what they have learned from textbooks (or a Bible). Of course there should be an apology, but lets also try and learn from past mistakes and stop it happening again.
06-02-2008, 10:02 PM
No hope of that.
The national media recently gave coverage to a pack rape case. The victim was moved to foster care away from the community where she was abused.
She was returned to the community and pack raped again. This seems to be the pattern in these remote communities, with consequent widespread STD's.
It was reported that the foster family no longer want anything to do with the system that returned her back to her "community". They put themselves out to care for her and give her a stable home life. There is nothing more cruel than to then remove children from this situation back to a situation of abuse.
But at least she was not "stolen" from her "culture".
Just another kid destroyed by a social myth.
06-02-2008, 11:00 PM
I can not wait to hear what Mr Nelson (...being a good leader he will hear the membership before stating a position...as he said on the ABC...and that’s good I suppose if you see only a bright side) hears from the meeting when he will hear the views of the party.
He is between a rock and hard place politically..
I suspect he knows what is needed but knows what is expected.
It will test him and I wish him good luck and nerves of steel.
I hope the folk drawing the "sorry" paper will have the sense to make it un contentious, as if they dont, it means they are seeking to cause disruption rather than deal with the matter, so guys do not stick something in to stir up your opponents please...
“We are sorry for any wrongs done” is the message finally…so be careful about the recitals by way of introduction.
So many things in this thread point to a misunderstanding of the situation and I expect those who present as authority on what is right may never have ever talked to anyone whole feels an injustice has been done. So it could be hard for them to understand the importance.
I have been out the mission at Tabulam this morning but could not bring myself to talk to folk out there as to how they feel..simply because I already know that getting a "sorry" means so much to them... its not just the folk who were immediately effected that will be cheered up.
I was going to get some real opinions and some real cases for all of you here but I decided not to…
There are folk who simply can not entertain a compassionate approach and feel indigent that somehow their society may have ever been in the wrong.
If you cant see “It” there is not point in trying to convince you of anything because your mind is set..and I have no problem with that ..everyone is entitled to their opinion.
There are many around this area who would complain that they should not be expected to say sorry...but would not tell you what their ancestors did to the folk around here... How could you not be sorry for herding a family off a cliff with men on horses… did I see that? no I did not..but it seems that it is history not far to our West…
There is more that we could be sorry about but at least if the Government does say sorry it may show that at least some folk care enough about the wrongs others wont admit and simply say they are sorry there was a wrong...
I did nothing wrong to them but I am sorry… mind you there are a lot of things in the world I feel sorry about...
I see that there are other cases in the world but heck we can be a little different and go a long way to fixing this...we are in control
I used to have arguments with my Son and so many times.. I would say I was sorry so we could move on… I had not done anything wrong. but he thought I had and it was the way he felt that was more important to me than carrying on simply making a big man of myself and proving that I was right and he was wrong...
Why folk feel "why should I take the blame stuff" I can not get... its not about that... it is about paying a respect to someone that your care about, how they feel about what has passed between you or yes even your ancestors...
This has been a very interesting thread and it is so good that folk at least care enough about this issue to form an opinion.
I see both camps of thought because of the wide circles I mix in (when I mix) you can imagine around here you get the extremes … 5th generation land holders and those who had the land in the first place.
I question the expectations placed on a people that for 20,000 years lived a particular life style and then have everything changed for them… they are just expected to toe the line or that’s it.. really I would think that after 20,000 years it would take many generations to catch up with our modern world… I don’t know how long it took our ancestors to move from hunter gathers to farmers and townsfolk but I think it was much longer than the time the original inhabitants of this country have been exposed to the end result.
I don’t know what upsets me the most the lack of understanding or the lack of compassion from a society supposedly based on a religion who’s leader told us above all ..”to love thy fellow man”… why not practice what we preach…
AND when you say the Lord’s prayer and get to the “forgive us our trespasses " bit …think long and hard about what that really means.
06-02-2008, 11:32 PM
Yep. Wallowing in the past does not help the present and future.
It has been found that African countries that get the most aid also have the poorest economic performance. It's the "Paris Hilton" effect - if some one is providing financial support, then it doesn't matter how dissolute or irresponsible your behaviour - you can waste aid money cause there is always more - there are no consequences. It's also called sit down money.
For all the billions, and it is billions I believe, spent on Aboriginal welfare in this country there is not a lot to show for it. The old paternalism did at least provide an opportunity for some indigenous australian to achieve something with their lives. Noel Pearson grew up at Hope Vale, a Lutheran Mission.
06-02-2008, 11:52 PM
Will I would like to know how one could move the plight of these folk.
I often wonder how a young man with poor education opportunities can make it in our society..some do in spite of adversity but those cases are rare really... do you think more money needs to be spent on education for example.
There was a center at Tenterfield where they would come and fix cars and learn stuff, like how to opperate chain saws and do work but it was closed as the previous Government stopped funding that ..and I thought it was so good..now those young fellas have nothing to do ..no sckills .. and no one will give them a job out there.. if you cant get work should not the system provide welfare?
I think often those who call for folk to stand on their own two feet because they did often fail to appreciate the special un recognised advantages that they may have enjoyed to be able to stand on their own two feet.
I have done this..well I did it.. the why cant you approach..well finally I stopped that because I realised I was very privledged by a very poor persons standards.
There are many problems we all know that but I can not see that one can fix it with a tuff stand up or fall approach.
07-02-2008, 12:13 AM
So very not true! read my earlier post, these kids were taken at 2 and 3 day old while still in the hospital. Neglect and abuse had not even a chance to happen before they were whisked away.
Neglect and abuse were just some of the smoke screen excuses to raise lighter skinned aboriginal children in a white society.
Many of these kids suffered abuse at the hands of thier foster families, many were nothing more than slave labour on pig and cattle farms
I could site dozens of examples not just my immeadiate family.
Ive worked for years amongst the aboriginal missions in the NT, QLD and SA.
I also have a brother who is a church missionary who specializes in Aboriginal education, both of us have developed a first hand knowledge based on fact not romantic myth.
Some people believe the Holocaust never happened, man never landed on the moon and that the earth is flat.
07-02-2008, 12:15 AM
ps...my daughter was Aboriginal apprentise of the year (motor mechanic) :D:D:D:D:D
yeah..I'm boasting..but I have every reason to:)
07-02-2008, 12:23 AM
Great Post Kokatha Man
Reconcilliation is something that happens every day, by the actions small and large that we all take.
This Sorry apology is long over due and we can all breath a sigh of relief and get on with being Australians together, each of us working in our own way to make the world a better place in big or small ways.
I live and work in NE Arnhemland, I work with the Yolngu people of Arnhemland both delivering and receiving Astronomical education.
I have just come back tonight from a performance by the "Chooky Dancers" performing their version of "Zorba the Greek" to an audience of 300 plus Yolngu and Napaki (all of us mob) from the town.
These dancers have attracted an audience of over 1/2 million people on U-tube
Nights like tonight make me proud to be a part of this community .
The second photo in particular symbolizes the unity that can be achieved in the community
07-02-2008, 09:46 AM
Did you know that it was only in 1927 that the Queensland Government repealed the law that allowed you to shoot any Aboriginal that trespassed on your land?
how many fences must i sit on before someone puts up the barbed wire...
"sorry". for so long it had been avoided as its such a loaded word. I personally am in favour of our leaders using it as a form of empathy but not appology as none of those who were responisble are around. If it unites the nation then its a great thing to do! anything that unites the nation is!
I am sure the relevant pollies have looked over the legal ramification a thousand times and feel safe in thier upcoming statement.
What happend to the indiginous aussies was an attrocity and need to me... not so much rectified but acknowledged. its far to late to do anything about those who are to be held accountable for what happened.
and so ends my "for" side of the arguement... (so thats a yes for "sorry")
as for the other side...i can see what M110 is saying too. I have been mugged on a sydney train for a bunch of aboriginals and lost my wallet over it, I have had an attempted mugging in hyde park by a couple of asian guys, and i have been threatened by lebanese guys so many times its not funny... not once have i been attacked of threatened by any... hmm white aussies (for want of a better term). and just to let you know I do not hold entire races responsible to these events. I dont hold all aboriginals responsible for me being mugged on the train nor do i hold all asian races responsible for what happened in hyde park... I dont even hold all lebanese people responsible for on continually on going verbal threats is recieve for them. why? all of us are individuals, we are not the same as everyone in our particular race. if violence is your way then its your choice. can anyone here claim to have been attacked by a whole race of people?
I am probably the most racially tollerant person I know and have friends from many different cultures.
so an sympathetic or empathetic sorry sounds sound to me and i am all for it :)
07-02-2008, 03:43 PM
These training centres are a great idea as long as they are staffed by someone who's been there, done that. To shut them down is very short sighted.
I hope things have changed over the past 20 years. It was about that long ago I applied for a project officers position with the then CYSS. It was training young, mainly aboriginal, kids with the skills I had learned in my trade as a fitter and the things I've picked up other areas. The one question that surprised me was "How would you treat aboriginal kids" My answer was of course "Same as any other, I'll show anyone what ever I can. I've trained many apprentices over the years". Oh but aboriginal kids are different, your apprentices are motivated. My answer "Thats part of my job to motivate them, show them the advantages of having these skills" Didn't get the job, guy who got it lasted about 12 months (actually he ran off with my ex brother in laws Mrs :rolleyes:.) As far as I know he had no trade skills, but a piece of paper saying he'd done some Uni course in youth work.
I knew quite a lot of the people who worked in that area through my ex wifes brother, out of the lot I think Stuart was the only one who had actually been trained in a trade (Hand binding of rare books) and worked at it for 10 years before getting his degree in Psycology. Maybe the mix of scholars and practical folks has got better over the years, but I somehow doubt it.
07-02-2008, 05:01 PM
This is not true.
The most telling fact against this argument is that only PART ABORIGINAL children were removed.
This leads to three possibilities:
(1) Only part aboriginal children were abused. (Naive and highly unlikely).
(2) Only part aboriginal children were rescued from abuse (This is highly racist).
(3) The removal of aboriginal children had very little to do with welfare reasons.
In the late 19th century the conclusion reached by State governments was that the Aboriginal race was doomed to extinction.
Policies were implemented to hasten this extinction by removal and institutionalization of part aboriginal children. Part aboriginals were to be used as an underclass to service white society.
There is nothing "mythical" about this. Go read the various State governments "Half Cast Acts" which sprang up in the late 19th century and were finally repealed by 1970.
09-02-2008, 09:47 PM
Apologies in advance if I offend anyone with my language or opinions or confuse my perceptions with actual facts. I feel there are no absolutes in this sort of subject and what may be reasonable to one is deeply offensive to another.
My personal view is that very little will come directly from what will be a very legally correct "sorry." I will not be surprised to find that what ends up being said is little more than a simple acknowledgement that some of these injustices occurred in our past.
I live in the Pilbara region of WA and as such I see many different sides of the aboriginal people. I see some (primarily elders) who are proud, confident people trying to retain their traditional way of life. I see (and work with) many who are living life like the rest of us, working hard to give them and their families a better life. These are some of the most inspirational people I know.
Unfortunately the vast majority of aboriginals that I see are listless, sad people. They live in squalid conditions in government housing, spending much of their time drinking or waiting for their dole cheque so that they can get their next drink. Physical violence is a daily occurence, most commonly between people who were friendly five minutes before and will be tomorrow. They have almost no interraction with the "white" community and on the rare occasions that they do my personal experience is that they are almost apologetic in their mannersim.
I must say that I do not pity these people. Having seen what others are doing with their lives I know that they have a choice in life like all of us. Their road may be much harder (and I believe it is) but they can make that decision and take action. The ones that I feel sorry for are the children. They know only what they see and act accordingly. Their futures will be shaped (not dictated but certainly influenced) by their experiences. The actions and words of their parents and family tell them that they don't deserve any better.
That is what I feel is holding back this group of aboriginal people. They don't believe that they deserve any better and frankly we don't do anything to convince them otherwise. As a society we are happy to let this continue, perhaps for fear of it becoming our problem, because we don't know what to do or just glad it's not us.
Over the years it seems that we have gone from a situation of being completely intolerant to one of complete tolerance. Neither is a good situation. We have "positive discrimination" ocurring throughout society where exceptions and allowances are being made based on a person's race, upbringing, medical conditions (yes I mean addiction), etc. By our actions we say that we do not think they are capable of living to these standards and therefore should not be held to them. I believe that we do this not just for aboriginals but also for many others within society.
If you tell a child that they are useless (as I hear being said everyday up here) and society reinforces this by not expecting them to be anything but useless it is no surprise that they grow into adults who believe that they do not deserve anything better than they have.
I hope beyond reason that this apology tells them that we believe that they deserve better. That they need to believe that they deserve better. That we apolgise for holding them to standards different to that of other members of society, both by removing children who weren't in danger and by returning those that are. I hope that the apology means that we no longer hold our heads in shame (us for our past actions and they for their shame at being what they are) and instead can all lift our heads high and believe we have the right to expect better for and from ourselves as well as others.
Sorry for the rant folks.:screwy: I'll get off my soapbox now.
PS - Inspirational story to start this discussion Darryl. I hope that you have all the luck, love and life that you deserve.
11-02-2008, 03:09 AM
An interesting article...
11-02-2008, 02:34 PM
I don't normally read anything by the dangerous mouthpiece's of the haters, along with the prepostorous piers ackerman - sheeeesh haters get over it, you lost - democracy prevailed thank goodness.
students of goebbels i think so
the haters didnt utter a sound about the hate party spending 2 billion dollars on utter and pure propaganda slandering and villifying the non ruling corporate classes filling our tv screens endlessly for years on end
oh sure sure yeah right it was all lovey dovey cotton glove treatment of the original australians from the oh sooooo caring haters from the gitgo :rolleyes:
11-02-2008, 03:20 PM
I've never read anything by Andrew Bolt that wasn't utter propaganda. It has always only taken a couple of minutes of research into the subject matter and the sources he quotes to realise what a master of spin this guy is.
This article was no exception :)
11-02-2008, 03:33 PM
Well I'm sure if the article has statements or references to peoples past
he cites that are in correct. I'm sure they will come out and say so. Are
you able to prove otherwise? until then the statements in the two
preceding posts are also propaganda ; )
11-02-2008, 03:41 PM
I never said he lies. Just that he is a master of spin. I've never known him not to quotes sources accurately.
Bolt has been found guilty of defamation by the Supreme Court of Victoria. I'm not keen to join him so this is all I'm going to say.
11-02-2008, 03:59 PM
I cant help anyone who isnt aware of this guys (and his ilk) reputation, or leanings/affiliations, which surprises me by now!, or overlooks it - not far off shock jock/pot stirrer
and R murdoch is famous for his love of controversy, bottom line, it got him where he is today in fact, nothing sells like controversy and supposedly he doesnt care which side it favours, controversial, is all that matters
11-02-2008, 04:16 PM
Please keep on topic and civil or the thread will be locked.
11-02-2008, 04:36 PM
Bolt is not correct. For example he quotes "In Victoria, for instance, the state Stolen Generations Taskforce concluded there had been "no formal policy for removing children". Ever." Perhaps Bolt should read the Victoria Half Caste Act of 1886 which explicitly stated that part aboriginals were to be forcibly assimilated into white society.
11-02-2008, 04:48 PM
Perhaps the history of treatment of part aboriginal children living among
full blooded aboriginal tribes across Australia when the Victoria Half Caste
Act of 1886 was written should be investigated.
11-02-2008, 04:58 PM
But the magistrate did shake their hands and seemed pretty chummy.
"A Victorian Supreme Court jury has decided that a journalist (Bolt)
did defame a magsitrate but also said it was a reasonable thing to do".
Must of been done on legal point more than any real defamation. Like
being charged with Common Assualt.... the assault charge they charge
you with when they real cant say you have assaulted, but people try
to hint your a mass murderer.
11-02-2008, 05:40 PM
Perhap you should read the act you refer to as Victoria Half Caste Act of
1886 but is actually titled Aborigines Protection Act (1886). You can then
point me to where it states "part aboriginals were to be forcibly assimilated
into white society" it only refers to orphaned children being removed to
the department of neglect, something that is done today by DOC's if your
white, black or whatever
You can read a copy of it here
Actually if you read Aborigines Protection Act (1869) under section 6 you
will see there were stiff penalties for the removal of aboriginals from the
state of Victoria
11-02-2008, 09:39 PM
Let me make some specific observations.
(1) This original discusion was based on Andrew Bolt's assertion that there was no formal policy for removing aboriginal children in Victoria. The information provided by you proves Andrew Bolt is clearly wrong.
(2) With regards to the naming of the act and the removal of part aboriginal children I draw attention to your own link.
"Aborigines Protection Act (1886)
The Aborigines Act of 1886 is often referred to as the 'half-caste' Act, as it was through this legislation that the colonial government of Victoria, through the control of the Board for the Protection of Aborigines, attempted to break up Aboriginal families and communities on the reserves. Under the 1886 Act the government had the power to remove any Aboriginal person from a reserve who was under the age of 34 and was categorised as less than 'full blood'.
(3) Your remark "....it only refers to orphaned children being removed to the department of neglect, something that is done today by DOC's if your
white, black or whatever" is fundamentally flawed as it assumes the legislators of 19th century possessed 21st century values.
If you read the parlimentary extracts of the time you will note that the aborigines are referred to as an inferior race doomed to extinction. This was the motivating factor behind the removal of children. Parents had no custodial rights whatsoever.
11-02-2008, 10:58 PM
No. The only motivating factor was the welfare of the child. The alleged stolen generation was not stolen, it was looked after.
Whilst there are some Ordinances and Act both Commonwealth and State, that allowed the removal of aboriginal children, none were removed for anything other than welfare reasons. There is not one case of removal from a family for purely racial reasons. If there is one, please produce it so we can all say sorry on behalf of governments past and pay compensation.
A well researched article is here:
"the contemporaneous anthropological record contains nothing about genocide and little about removals. "
"When half-caste children were taken it was on grounds of welfare, not race."
11-02-2008, 11:05 PM
Yes it is. Try (1) in your smug simple response - half caste were not accepted by black communities. They tended to be abandoned and abused. Aboriginals were covered by protective legislation that would now be considered paternalistic. It was a different set of rules that applied than white welfare.
and now we don't have any of that, we have:
"And those who have not read the report, Little Children are Sacred, its two authors visited 45 communities in the Northern Territory. They didn't find sexual abuse in some of those communities, they didn't find it in most of those communities, they found it in every single community; 45 out of 45. Think about that, the enormity of that for a moment. People coming forward with the most horrendous stories. We have children as young as three with gonorrhoea, we have twenty-four year old grandmothers, we have so many babies being born with alcohol foetal syndrome that their capacity to pass on the oral history of their people is gone before they're even born. We have physical and sexual abuse of boys and girls and men and women. It knows no boundaries. "
are you happy now Steven? They're not stolen anymore.
12-02-2008, 12:09 AM
To apoligise for what you have not done is absurd..please explain otherwise!
Secondally aboriginal means native to the land what ever country you are from.
thirdly it is the educated ...oh sorry stolen generation that are pushing for reconcilliation and because of us they are educated,
and recentley i was in egypt and have seen boomerangs in the ciaro museum that are thousands of years old.
I call a spade a spade and a shovel a shovel
I would like to add my own crusade and that is the senseless slaughter of whales in the antartica sanctuary by the japanese under the pretense of ..science ,our aboriginals can speak for themselves ..the whales can not i urge all to support the sea shepherd and its volunteers inn protecting what the australian goverment will not! a whale harpooned drowns in its on blood for 15 minutes,lovely thought is int it?
And remember mankinds stupidity and hatred are only overshadowed by his ....GREED
here is a link for anyone who cares for this planet http://www.seashepherd.org/
By the way i put my money where my mouth is i have donated substantially amounts
12-02-2008, 12:35 AM
pure measly word semantics
and you're an aboriginal of where?
thats awfully big of you, i'm sure they'll be keen to show their gratitude
and..? i saw a beautiful 'boomerang moon' sunday evening - sure looked like one
careful, i wonder if you even realise?
12-02-2008, 12:57 AM
is that its called a waxing moon..i have no more to say on this thread
12-02-2008, 01:01 AM
I think I'll refrain from opening this thread again, else I say something I'll not be proud of later.
Suffice to say, children WERE forcefully removed from thier families many times under the guise of neglect or abuse even where there was no evidence of it ever happening or the likelyhood of it happening.
Neglect and abuse were smoke screen coverall words of justification.
Often the removal was placed in the hands of private and religious welfare organizations to keep the blood of the hands of the government.
This happened right upto and including the 70's
neglect and abuse is not specific to the aboriginal communities as one post seemed to elude to, I would hazard a guess and be confident enough to say there is not a town, city or community in Australia where neglect and abuse is not present.
Absurde to say sorry for something you didn't do? Like I didn't kill your cat so why should I say sorry?
You're missing the point. It's we realize it happened and we are sorry it did.
12-02-2008, 05:25 AM
Thanks for starting the thread Darryl, nice story.
This has to be locked now.
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