Australian Aborigines Essay

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Australian Aborigines

Australian Aborigines are thought to have the longest continuous cultural history in the world. Yet, within a hundred years, the near extinction of the Aboriginal culture almost occurred. This single event, the invasion of the Australian continent by European settlers, changed the lifestyle, the culture, and the fate of Australian Aborigines. Their entire lives were essentially taken away and they were forced into a white, European world where the lifestyle change could not have been any different. Aborigines in Australia today are struggling to deal with a past in which they lost touch with their culture and now are trying to regain some of that cultural identity.

In order to understand the effects of
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Australian Aborigines believe that to destroy or damage a sacred site threatens not only the present inhabitants but also the spiritual inhabitants of the land. Broome described that "Each tribe believed that its boundaries were fixed and validated by the stories about the movements of their ancestors, and therefore there was no reason to desire or try to possess the country of another group: it would have seemed meaningless to them since their creation stories only related to their own piece of territory" (14). Australian Aborigines traveled around a land that was a symbolic and religious world. There were not simply rocks, trees, and watering holes but they were objects and places that the great ancestors had created and places where they still lived. The Aboriginal culture stressed continuity over change.

The question of intertribal trading and communication occurring between Aboriginal groups is one that is not agreed upon by investigators of the culture. Broome described in his book, Aboriginal Australians, some trading between groups but did not place an emphasis on it. In fact, Broome seemed to describe a slow response to European presence because of the lack of sufficient communication between groups (36). However, Reynolds in The Other Side of the
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