Indigenous Australian Land Rights Essay

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Indigenous Australian land rights have sparked controversy between Non Indigenous and Indigenous Australians throughout history. The struggle to determine who the rightful owners of the land are is still largely controversial throughout Australia today. Indigenous Australian land rights however, go deeper than simply owning the land as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have established an innate spiritual connection making them one with the land. The emphasis of this essay is to determine how Indigenous Australian land rights have impacted Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, highlighting land rights regarding the Mabo v. the State of Queensland case and the importance behind today’s teachers understanding and including Indigenous…show more content…
The connection Indigenous Australians have with the land was established, and maintained, by The Dreamings, passed down through generations binding Indigenous Australians to the land (National Film & Sound Archive, 2015). National Film & Sound Archive (2015), highlight that land and being can not be separated for Indigenous Australians as they form part of the land and are accountable for the preservation of the land. Indigenous Australian land rights originated from an intricate social process constructed on traditional core values; where the rights of the land were established on principles of descendants, kinship and marriage (Dodds, 1998). However, despite this, the British colonisation of Australia in 1788 brought about change when the land was declared Terra Nullius (Short, 2007). Short (2007) stated that as a result of Australia being declared Terra Nullius, Indigenous Australians had no legitimate claim to their land. Hence, British colonisers dispossessing Indigenous Australians of their land rights as the customs established by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were not recognised or taken into consideration by the British Government (Short,…show more content…
Land rights now referred to the continual legal exertion to reclaim ownership of the land and waters that was called home prior to British colonisation (Creative Spirits, 2011). Australian Museum (2015) and Creative Spirits (2011) acknowledge the struggle to gain legal recognition and ownership of Indigenous land is difficult and expensive. Furthermore, the history behind the struggle in earlier years often resulted in violence as Indigenous Australians were dispossessed of their land (Australian Museum, 2015). Subsequently, the struggle for land rights continued through the legal and political systems; as demonstrated in 1982 when Eddie (Koiki) Mabo and four other Meriam people decided to pursue declaration of their customary land rights in the High Court of Australia (Hill, 1995). Based on the findings of Creative Spirits (2011) Indigenous Australian land rights appeared promising in 1983 when the Hawke Government promised legislation to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s land rights are protected throughout Australia. The legislation was said to permit Indigenous Australians to exercise the right of control over mining on Indigenous Australian land to ensure sacred sites are protected (Creative Spirits, 2011). However, in 1984 the mining companies fought back to repossess control over land. Mining and pastoral industries were considered too powerful and
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