Aboriginal Rights And Freedoms Essay
The European settlers saw Aboriginals as children and decided that they needed to be looked after, hence, paternalism. From this idea, they created protectorates to educate, civilize and guard the rights of the Aborigines. In 1883, the Aborigines Protection Board was established. For most of the 20th century, the Aborigines Protection Board controlled their lives.
Europeans settlers wanted to change Aboriginal cultures and traditions. They attempted to do this by introducing the Policy of Protection in 1909, allowing Aboriginal children to be taken from their parents and be put into institutions or European Families and educated like white children. Children who were taken away were known as the Stolen Generation. Also, Aborigines were put onto reserves and missions so they could live independently, whilst continuing their tradition.
On the 26th of January 1938, the nation celebrated Australia Day, while the Aborigines celebrated their National Day of Mourning. Though this day marked triumph and evolution for the nation, for the Aborigines, this was the day they lost their land, rights and freedom. The Aborigines protested and held conferences with the government about unfair treatment towards them and plead for equal rights and full citizenship.
No adjustments were made, even up to 1951. In this year, another attempt was made to change Aboriginals into Europeans, but in a much more subtle manner. Aboriginals were introduced to the Assimilation Policy. The Assimilation Policy encouraged Aborigines to accept the European customs, and only until they did, would they be able to maintain their own cultures and traditions; though it was strongly discouraged.
During the 1950s to 1960s, Europeans were becoming more aware of the way that Aborigines were being treated. In 1959, they were given the rights to have unemployment benefits and maternity leave. Soon after, in 1961, the Assimilation Policy was changed to accept Aboriginal traditions.
In the 1960s, Aboriginal rights and...
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Curriculum areas: Australian history, Indigenous culture & history, English, media
Key curriculum links: Time, Continuity and Change; Culture; Natural and Social Systems; Investigation, Communication and Participation, Thinking Processes and Communication
In 2008 it was the 70th anniversary of the 1938 Day of Mourning and Protest. Held on 26 January, this Aboriginal-only protest meeting was a response to the 150th anniversary celebrations of the arrival of British settlers in Australia, and the inferior citizenship status of Indigenous people.
This theme of the struggle for full Indigenous citizenship rights is a significant and continuing part of Australia's history.
The National Museum of Australia has a wealth of primary and secondary source material available to students of this theme on its website Collaborating for Indigenous Rights.
In this unit we provide a timeline of developments from the 1950s to the 1970s, with suggestions for ways that students can explore aspects of the theme further through the rich resources of the National Museum of Australia website.
The student activities included in this unit cover the following topics:
- key concepts of land rights and civil rights
- Indigenous rights timeline, 1930–79
- Warburton Ranges controversy, 1957
- Albert Namatjira and citizenship, 1958–59
- Social service benefits, 1954–64
- Mapoon, 1962–64
- Yirrkala, 1963–71
- Equal wages, 1963–66
- Freedom ride, 1965
- Wave Hill walk off, 1966–70
- Lake Tyers, 1962–70
- Aboriginal Embassy, 1972