Land Rights for the First Australians Essay

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Land Rights for the First Australians Australian Aborigines have had a traditional relationship with their land since they first came to the Australian continent somewhere from 40,000 to 60,000 years ago to 120,000 years ago (9:9). Before Europeans came and settled the same land, the Aborigines had their own law system, trading systems, and way of caring for their land (12:1-2). Then the First Fleet of Europeans landed at Botany Bay in New South Wales in 1788. The expedition lead by the new Governor Phillip, but directed by King George the Third, was told to endeavor by every possible means to open intercourse with the natives, and to conciliate their affections, enjoining all our subjects to live in amity and kindness with them. And…show more content…
Aboriginal land rights issues started with European settlement. Land was taken from Aborigines without reparation. The land systems of the two cultures clashed immediately. The Aborigines thought of the land as "a necessity of existence, cultural integrity, and identity" (9:12). This is very different from the white settlers relationship with the land. Aborigines understood their environment and nature and used the resources with caution and knowledge. But the British land management system consisted of ownership and exploitation, things that didn't exist in Aboriginal society at that time (9:16). Aborigines were continually forced off their tribal land and onto reserves or missions and away from their heritage, mostly for mining or other European purposes. Nothing could change until the Aboriginal people spoke out. In August of 1963, some did. Five hundred people from the Yirrkala area of Australia sent a petition to the Australian federal parliament protesting the granting of rights to mine bauxite on their reserve land. The petition was written in the Gumatj language on bark and surrounded by traditional paintings. The petition stated that the intent to mine the land was not communicated to them and their thoughts on the project had not been considered. They declared that the land was sacred to the tribes in that area and that the land had ties to their ancestral heritage.
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