East Africans are darker than Native Australians
There is hardly a more delicate, sensitive topic for Australians than the relationship with their indigenous people. It is shaped by mutual prejudices, half-knowledge or ignorance.
There are numerous myths surrounding this topic, which are often published, but which do not necessarily have to be correct. The cultures of white and "black" Australians differ in many ways. The indigenous people see themselves as an integral part of nature. Material economy and sedentarism do not have the same status in the society of the indigenous people as in the European immigrant society. A preprogrammed conflict: the white settlers needed land ownership in order to understand their existence - at the same time the basis of indigenous society. A conflict that continues to this day. In the following, we would like to try to make this difficult topic accessible with some background information, but do not claim to completely outline this comprehensive topic.
Designation of the Australian natives by the whites: Aborigine (noun); aboriginal (adj.)
ab origine (lat.) = indigenous people / originally: legendary tribe of the Latins (Latium landscape in Italy, today "Lazio" with the capital Rome).
For a long time, the Australian natives rejected the simplistic umbrella term "Aborigines" and did not use it themselves for cultural identification. The term Aborigines, imposed by Europeans, was linked in the past with racist and social-Darwinist ideas and also had a negative connotation in English usage.
But that changed in 2011: In January 2011, through one of our readers, we received a statement from Ray Jackson, President of the Indigenous Social Justice Association. Basically, he writes that the term has undergone a change. From a term of disdain for many today, the term "Aborigine" is a term that no longer offends the pride of the Australian indigenous population. This is comparable to the change in terms among Afro-Americans, who initially gave the discrediting term "black people" a new, positive meaning within the framework of the Black Power movement at the end of the 1960s.
The question of the really correct designation has not been conclusively clarified. At a conference in January 2010, for example, the term 'origine' was discussed as a possible description of the Aboriginal people and yet again rejected as inappropriate.
- The short term “Abo”, comparable to “Nigger”, is considered racist and highly “politically incorrect”. The term "full blood" is also discriminatory.
- The term "aboriginal" can be found both as an adjective and as a noun. As an adjective, 'Aboriginal' is politically correct. In the designation "Aboriginal people (s)", a capital 'A' is usually used to distinguish it from other aboriginal peoples, e.g. those in Canada.
- In Australia one often comes across the term "indigenous people" from the Latin term indigenous. Many Aborigines have no problem with "Aborigine", but with the term "indigenous" they do.
In Australia, the natives themselves increasingly use (sometimes supra-regional) self-names. Some names can also be assigned to primary settlement areas. In the Northern Territory (as well as probably in the north of Western Australia) people still identify themselves mainly with their local language groups, i.e. there are no supraregional but only local self-names. The 'Yolngu' live east of Darwin in Arnhem Land, but in Darwin itself there are the 'Larrakia' and in Central Australia there are the Arrernte (formerly Arunta), Kaytetye, Alyawarr, Anmatyerr, Whyungu, Warlmanpa, Wakaya, Akarre, to name but a few to name a few groups.
You can find supraregional self-designations of the indigenous inhabitants in the table below - mainly for areas along the east and south coast. The indigenous people in Queensland generally refer to themselves as "Murri", in New South Wales and Victoria as "Koori", in South Australia as "Nungar", in northern South Australia as "Anangu" (= people), in Southwest Western Australia as " Nyoongar ".
The term "dream time" stands for one of the most controversial and complicated constructs in the field of Aboriginal cultures: it was created due to misunderstandings between two ethnologists who worked with inadequate translations of the aranda word "altjira rama" and mixed up its meanings. "Altjira rama" means, in very simplified terms, "the ability to" see "a specific place of great personal importance for the respective speaker, as in a dream or in a vision." A shortened version of the term (altjiranga) denotes something "that was and is present from the beginning and in all eternity". (altjeringa is the English adaptation of altjiranga).
This mixture of terms resulted in the English "dreamtime", which finally found its way into the German language as dreamtime at the beginning of the 20th century and through ethnology and psychoanalysis (Freud) for a mystification of Aboriginal cultures as the last ones living in harmony with nature "Stone Age" people worried. The term still exudes this fascination today.
If you want to explain the German term, then more as a kind of parallel time, not as "Vor-Zeit". Of course, the idea that we call dream time also contains different content for the various aboriginal groups, which differ greatly from Central European associations of the term.
Beginning of settlement
The oldest skeleton in Australia was found at Lake Mungo, New South Wales. The University of Canberra believes this is the oldest human DNA - around 60,000 years old. They contain traces of applied ocher paints that were most likely used for ceremonies.
- It is unclear whether today's native Australians had sufficient knowledge of navigation when they immigrated or whether ships or rafts were suitable.
- When the Europeans arrived (thousands of years later) there was no evidence of this.
This study also points out the strikingly dark skin color of some Aborigines, which could indicate a relationship with people in the highlands of New Guinea and the Mamanwas, a people in the Philippines. According to the genetic make-up, these influences are likely to date back around 35,000 years. Both possible waves of immigration play a role in the fact that in the history of the earth there were repeatedly land bridges between Australia and its northern neighbors when the sea level had sunk because the water was bound to the poles and many glaciers during an ice age.
The group associations with around 500 to 700 people were divided into sedentary or mostly wandering groups of around 20 to 50 people. The boundaries of the groups were not drawn abstractly by pen strokes on maps, but rather resulted from natural boundaries such as mountain ridges and rivers. There were frequent disputes over territorial claims, which is often not mentioned in idealizing "dream time" literature.
The region of the giant outback farms, in which 200 people live today, for example, used to feed various group associations with up to 2,500 members.
- Estimates differ about the population at the time of the arrival of the white - European - settlers. They are between 300,000 and 1,000,000.
- In 2012 there were around 500,000 Aboriginal people in Australia.
- Due to racist prejudice, many mixed race referred to themselves in popular polls as white until the 1990s, which resulted in a high number of unreported cases. This tendency has been declining in recent years, which has led to a statistical increase in the aboriginal population.
A constant number of the population was ensured by birth control before the arrival of the whites. Sexual taboos, abortions, infanticide (especially in the case of twin births) were not uncommon, as it was impossible for women to carry all their household items and more than two children with them. Other nomadic societies also know such rules.
The elders have a great deal of authority. When decisions have to be made that affect the whole group, their advice is usually crucial. The whole group can participate in decisions, but decisions only apply if the elders agree. And after everything that the indigenous people traditionally did was determined by their 'law' - 'the law' (marriage rules, 'taboos', who was allowed to hunt or gather where, etc.) the elders had an influence on all areas of life (that Life was a ritual act).
According to their belief, Aboriginal people saw themselves as an integral part of their natural environment. They followed strict rules of conduct when dealing with nature. This attitude is very cautious about innovations. Arranging and keeping appointments was also unimportant - due to completely different cultural bases and necessities.
The first Europeans therefore perceived the culture as archaic and alien - comparable to the Stone Age Papua in New Guinea. The treatment of aboriginal groups in the period following the first contact resulted from these impressions. It emerged from a mixture of complete ignorance of the culture, wrong interpretations and the unwillingness to open up to the unknown.
- The fate of the indigenous people of Tasmania is particularly drastic: 4,000 of them defended themselves and were completely destroyed within 70 years.
- As recently as the 1920s, Aboriginal people were shot dead by drovers on Sunday drive hunts and "their heads were set up on the veranda to dry". Illegal - but in keeping with the zeitgeist.
University of Newcastle - Map: Colonial Frontier Massacres in Eastern Australia 1788-1872
Diseases & Epidemics
Depression & apathy
alcohol and drugs
There was a strong political interest behind the mission's apparently lofty aim. Many historians today see the mission's core goal as destroying the indigenous cultures: the people should be made available as cheap labor. Many missions and state institutions (even private individuals such as Daisy Bates) saw their task in "smoothing the pillow on the black man's death bed", ie in accelerating the extinction of blacks in Australia, if not, at least "pleasantly " close.
Films from and about Australia - also about and with Aborigines.
|1961||Aboriginal people are given the right to vote|
|1967|| Establishment of the Department for Aboriginal Affairs: |
The efficiency of the institution is a constant issue in Australian domestic politics. Billions were put into medical care, for example, to reduce the dramatic infant mortality (10 times compared to white people).
Embezzlement and poor bookkeeping are common problems with the distribution of funds for Aboriginal projects.
|1980 ff.||Racial segregation in schools and in some urban districts is gradually being lifted.|
|1993|| Mabo law ends the legal position of "Terra Nullius": |
Aboriginal people have the right to "native titles" - reclaiming their own land. Prerequisite: Proof of a centuries-long, constant relationship with a country.
Native American tribes filed claims on nearly 40 percent of the area. The previous users should not be expelled, but rights to carry out religious acts and to hunt wild animals as well as rights of way should be granted.
|1998|| Wik law restricts indigenous demands: |
Land rights claims on areas leased by the state to farmers or mining companies cannot be raised. Only financial compensation can be requested. They are to be financed from tax revenues. Billions in costs are expected.
|1999||Constitutional preamble rejected: |
A foreword to the constitution that, among other things, the Aboriginal people to be the first to recognize Australia was rejected.
|2000||Several protest marches with up to half a million participants for the rights of the Aboriginal people reflect the changed legal awareness of white Australia.|
|2004||After the death of a 17-year-old, riots broke out in the aboriginal settlement in Sydney's Redfern district in February.|
|2008||Finally: The new government under Kevin Rudd sends an official "Sorry", an apology, to the indigenous people|
The billion dollar projects to support the Aborigines are particularly controversial. The party "One Nation" on the right edge of the party spectrum tried to profit from a latent racism especially in the mid-1990s. Some Aboriginal activists also discredit the indigenous cause.
Providers of tourism services from / with Aboriginal people.
Note: Please read the descriptions of the providers if you are explicitly looking for offers from companies that are run by Aboriginal People.
- The Australian didgeridoo is enjoying rapidly increasing popularity as a musical instrument.
- Pop bands like Yothu Yindi skillfully combined Aboriginal elements with commercial influences and thus also offer an - albeit not entirely original - access to the cultural elements of the Aboriginal people via the mainstream.
For more in-depth information, we recommend the website of Jens-Uwe Korff from Sydney. Since 1994 he has studied the culture of the Australian Aborigines extensively. He has long run a website and has been posting articles that are appreciated by Aboriginal and whites alike. He mainly refers to Aboriginal sources and has thus earned the reputation of a serious reporter. Anyone who wants to deal with the topic in more depth - up to the framework of a batch or master's thesis - is in good hands on Jens Korff's website. Jens Korff's website
We would like to thank Olaf Geerken (an anthropologist of German origin who has been working in Australia for many years) and Petra Schleunig for their significant assistance in compiling the information for this page.
The most important milestones in Australian history
The Australian instrument number 1: the didjeridu / didgeridoo
Tips and background for reporting on Australia and Aboriginal people
At first glance, the land down under is alien to us, but it is often familiar. This is confusing and unfortunately quite often ends up in reproducing clichés and misinterpretations. This page is intended to enable a differentiated presentation of Australia by illuminating the cultural background and its consequences for writing in more detail.
Aboriginal literature - from and about Australia
Travel literature for in-depth study of the culture of the Aboriginal people
Aboriginal Art & Culture Center (s)
An Aboriginal tribe of the Southern Arrernte Aboriginal tribal group, about 100 km away from Alice Springs, has actively opened up to cyberspace. He is active in the sale of handicrafts via the online shop and has flourishing tourism activities on site. On the website you can, among other things, take a virtual journey into the time of Dreamtime, visit the art gallery and find detailed information about the didgeridoo in the "Didgeridoo University". However, some pages need a little patience for the loading time - but this will be rewarded.
Aboriginal Studies WWW VL (e)
Good starting point for information about Aborigines with well over 100 links to special services - some of them very scientifically oriented
Northern Land Councils
The current status of the Aboriginal struggle for land rights from the perspective of the Aborigines in the Northern Territory
We look forward to your suggestions for updates and enhancements to this page.
Our editorial team invests a lot of time in research to keep the contents of AUSTRALIEN-INFO.DE up-to-date, clear and correct. Nevertheless, it cannot be ruled out that the content of this page is not updated daily.
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