The Treatment Of Aboriginal Australians

1189 Words5 Pages
Australia prides itself on its success as a colonial settlement to independent nation state. While there are numerous points in Australian history that are noted positively and have led to the creation of a distinct and proud culture, there are issues which remain; the treatment of Aboriginal Australians, both in the colonial and post-colonial time frames, has been a negative imprint on Australian history which many times has tried to be overlooked. Inaccurate or biased historical documentation hinders the nation’s ability to progress and not acknowledging these issues leaves Australia in a state where it is possible to repeat transgressions and ultimately unable to truly be proud of its past. Refusal to accept the negative aspects of the past can cause further repeats of wrongdoing. Since the arrival of the first fleet in 1787, British colonists claimed land as an extension of the British territory based solely on the international doctrine of Terra Nullius, which roughly translate to ‘nobody’s land’ or a territory which has no inherent owner; the British Government acted as if Australia were uninhabited. The title of Terra Nullius gave British colonists a perceived right to take land along the New South Wales coast as their own without any acknowledgement of or negotiation with the Aboriginal inhabitants. This is the first instance of Aboriginal people’s position being downgraded in Australia’s history and foster a sense of entitlement within the colonists, “by the late 1830s, fifty years after colonisation had begun, the practice of taking the Aboriginal people’s land without any negotiation had come to be regarded as the law of the land.” Without accepting the bad practices of colonial Australia,... ... middle of paper ... pride in the way they were able to truly apologise for the terrible course of action from the past. Not accepting what is truly bad in it creates an environment where a nation cannot be proud of its entire past. However Australia has made attempts to reconcile historical incidents and as a result was unable to justly celebrate its founding because of the distinct and continued displacement of Aboriginal populations. As historians acknowledge and incorporate Indigenous perspectives into the discourse of Australian history it creates a broader understanding of Australian history and enables the nation to acknowledge and amend past mistakes; acknowledgement of past mistakes does not inherently reduce the value of the accomplishments Australia has achieved as a nation, but instead allows the country to move towards a better future where such mistakes can be avoided.
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