Looking At The Aboriginal Stolen Generation And The Factors Influencing The Mind Set At The Time
In examining how the Aboriginal Stolen Generation came to be we must look at the early stages of colonial involvement with Aboriginal families.
The colonists were mostly European and came to Australia with the standard social beliefs of Europe and the strong religious views of the time.The Aboriginal people were thought to be heathens to the Europeans as they believed in many spirits developed from their dreaming.
(A dreaming is a story of cultural and spiritual heritage which is sacred to Aboriginal people).
They lived an often nomadic life traveling place to place and life was very hard particularly for those living where water was in short supply which is on about 80% of the Australian land mass.It was common practice at the time to kill one of the babies at birth if twins were born as more than one baby would be too hard on the mother living in very harsh conditions.
Babies born as a result of interactions of traveling European workers were commonly known as yellow fellows or half castes and were social outcasts within their families and also killed.
This Aboriginal view toward mixed race children was stronger in 1910 than 1970.
In any case life was much more difficult for the non pure blooded Aboriginal person trying to live in their respective communities.
The history of abuse from European settlers on them and their land never sat well with them and having mixed race children was an in your face affront to Aboriginal families and their culture, and treated as yet a further invasion into their lives.Aboriginal people tried to move away from this invasion into harsher and harsher areas to avoid these interactions.
These families were and are seen as dysfunctional because of the differences in the way they interact and behave differently from European Australians.
Still today children with deformities and mental handicaps are often left to fend for themselves eating whatever they are able to find and sleeping where ever they can in these communities.
These same disadvantaged people fall prey to others who would use them sexually and feel no shame.
This is a different culture. To me, these kids are the start of a new Australian Stolen Generation.
Aboriginal social society is very different from Australian European society even today but the social differences are less apparent because most traditional people live in remote closed communities where as the Aboriginal Stolen Generation mostly live in cities.
The government of the day does its best to assist in this isolation. The differences of what is known as” law” to Aboriginal people is often and has been very different to those of the ruling European Australians.
This difference means that the Aboriginal people make up less that 20% of the population of Western Australia and the Northern Territory yet make up about 80% of the prison population.The benefit to the children, known as the Aboriginal Stolen Generation was that for the most part they were well cared for and educated.
Some of these are the well educated who now are able to be the voice of their people.
The downside is that many Aboriginal children were separated from their identities of person and place which is created by when and where they were born (cultural identity) and the special nourishment and bonding of a familiar relationship.
A further downside was the failure of the government to ensure that the care given was respectful and responsible.A mother never forgets a child even if it should die let alone be taken from her by her cultural enemy.
A child’s death would be easier for a mother to accept then having her baby taken by her enemy.
Is there any wonder why “we are sorry” took so long? The cultural gap is just about as large now as then if only slightly different.
Have we learned anything from our experience with the Aboriginal stolen generation?