Australia’s First People have faced inestimable damage to their cultural heritage because of the profound impact government policy and legislation has had upon it. This essay will identify the Is it truly then any surprise that this ignorance of correct history has led the Australian Aboriginal to be subjected to more racism, oppression and vilification than any other group within Australian society?and will discuss how this extraordinarily inhumane legislation was directly responsible for the Stolen Generation. Also illustrated will be the devastating effects of this injustice and how they are still being felt today.
In 1869, disguising institutionalized racial discrimination, the "protection and management of the Aboriginal natives" Act (Aboriginal Protection Act 1869 Vic) was enacted in Victoria, giving the state government a raft of rigid criteria which regulated Indigenous employment, marriage, education, wages, health, rations, living arrangements and it initiated the forced removal of “half-caste” children from their families. Showing complete disregard for the Indigenous peoples ability to manage and self-govern themselves, the Act instead controlled every aspect of their lives. The intergenerational effects of this legislation include grief, child abuse, inequality, loss of self, loss of spirituality, hardship, poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, violence, suicide and separation issues, with the harm continuing into later generations, affecting the children and grandchildren of those children who were abused and forcibly removed (HREOC 1997).
Today, the one hundred and forty six year old echoes of this Act highlight the nature of the inhumanity and injustices central to the heart of the Indigenous struggle. It forever remains an indelible stain on our national character, with some traditional aspects of Aboriginal society being sadly and irrevocably lost forever. I
I. Aboriginal Protection Act 1869 (Vic) Act for the Protection and Management of the Aboriginal Natives of Victoria. “Documenting Democracy” National Archives of Australia. 33 Vic. No. 349 Retrieved 31/3/15.
Using a copy of the original Act for this essay is convenient for quick and accurate reference regarding dates and word authenticity. Whilst reading it, a true sense of the repugnancy of this item is almost tangible. Surprising the level of inhumanity the dimensions of 35.7 x 41.3 cm can hold.
II. AIATSIS – Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. http://aiatsis.gov.au/
A very comprehensive website dedicated to preserving and maintaining Aboriginal Culture, Heritage and Societies. Included online are peer-reviewed books, papers, journals and many other research publications. Research and policy advice on Native Title and Land Ownership is included. No academic research would be complete without accessing this site.
III. Hollinsworth, D. (David) Race and racism in Australia / David Hollinsworth. 3rd Edition. South Melbourne Thomson/ Social Science Press, 2006.
A comprehensive analysis of racism within