Palm Island is recognised as an isolated reserve governed by White Australia for Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islands, who were forcibly removed and relocated throughout Queensland in the settlement’s establishment in 1914. The island has a history punctuated by unrest and violence, and in 1987, a Royal Commission was launched to investigate the number of Aboriginal deaths in custody. Palm Island’s social context is beleaguered by violence and dependence on drugs, and in particular, alcohol. In 2006, it was put under an Alcohol Management Plan, known as an AMP, after an inquiry...
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...andished. The marginalised Aboriginals resigned to using “purri purri” (sorcery) against the police, which emphasises the idea that in this context, the Aboriginals felt so oppressed that they resorted to conjuring spirits for protection. Hooper describes a painting in which under a white man’s shirt, “he was reptilian”, and the adjective “reptilian” allows the audience to understand that in this context, the Aboriginals felt so threatened that they had to draw the trooper as a snake. In Aboriginal culture, the snake symbolises protection of the land of Aboriginal people, whom believed that a man would be harmed if the symbol was drawn upon him. My understanding of the oppression in which Aboriginal Australians faced in colonial Australia invoked feelings of anger and disgust, and reinforced pre-existing attitudes I have on discrimination and the corrupt police force.
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