Contested Ground: Australian Aborigines under the British by Ann McGrath

By Ann McGrath

'Both indigenous and non-indigenous Australians have much to benefit approximately one another ahead of reconciliation among the 2 peoples could be realised. This ebook will pass far in the direction of attaining that end.' Paul Behrendt

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Since the 1970s, a large number of Aborigines have let go of the shame they were taught and have spoken out more openly about what it means to be Aboriginal. A cultural renaissance has occurred throughout Australia as Aborigines previously denied access to their past culture have sought to gain as much knowledge as they can. Across the country much sharing and exchange have followed, accompanied by an increasing pride in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identity. Pan-Aboriginal pride was epitomised by the huge gathering at the anti-Bicentennial march in Sydney in 1988.

Many lost all contact with their real families. During their service in other people’s homes, girls who became pregnant were sent to unmarried mothers’ institutions, where they were given little choice but to consent to their babies’ adoption by white families. Aboriginal people were expected to fit in with a western-style labour system but they were not entitled to its privileges. Although excluded from many types of work, they excelled and were highly sought after at rural work such as horse breaking, mustering, fruit planting and picking.

The Australian continent’s little-known history of Aboriginal civilisation dates back somewhere between 50 000 and 100 000 years. Archaeological investigations and improved dating techniques promise further breakthroughs. Regional dating variations are not particularly significant, because they reflect the limited nature of archaeological research. 10 Aboriginal people share and continue to share important historical knowledge through Dreaming stories, clan sagas, song cycles, dance and art. For them, history is written in the landscape itself; 9 DOCUPRO FINAL ART CLIENT ALLEN & UNWIN REFERENCE DP3\DP3703\MAIN DOCUPHONE (02) 418 8357 DOCUFAX (02) 418 8619 9 CONTESTED GROUND the land is not just a text book for history, it is history and history is the foundation of their present-day lives.

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