Australian Aborigines

Aborigines are the original inhabits of the Australian continent. They are one of the world’s oldest surviving cultures. Aborigines’ ancestors migrated from Africa more than 50,000 years ago. Theory suggests that they went to the foot of Eurasia and then crossed into Australia and New Guinea. Some say that Aborigines migrated from Asia, although DNA evidence disputes that possibility. For more details read what the National Geographic News had to say.

These migrants formed nomadic tribes with over 300 different languages. They lived as hunters and gathers for thousands of years. Some also fished along the coasts. Their religion is called Dreaming. Dreaming is used to a set of beliefs, such as Kangaroo Dreaming, Honey Ant Dreaming, or Snake Dreaming. The term Dreamtime refers to an era before time.

In the 1700’s British colonist came to Australia and life for Aborigines drastically changed. Epidemic diseases such as influenza, measles, smallpox, chickenpox, and venereal diseases spread throughout the population.  These diseases killed an estimated 90 percent of the population. Today Aborigines make up only 2 percent of the Australian population. To this day Aborigines have a low tolerance to these diseases.

Land was lost during this time also. Aborigines did not have status has full Australian citizens until recent years. In 1976 the Aboriginal Land Rights Act gave almost 36 percent of the Northern Territory back to them. The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission conducted a national inquiry into segregation and other wrongs inflicted onto the Aborigine population.  The results of the inquiry revealed that between 1910 and 1970 up to 1/3 of all indigenous children were removed from their homes and placed into racist foster care and schools. These children were the victims of sexual and physical abuse.

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