Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Aboriginal Culture

Many Australians feel a sense of guilt about the terrible state of Aboriginals in this country. Whether our guilt goes back two hundred years or one hundred years or fifty years, it always comes to this, we the white people of this country are ultimately responsible for the suffering of Aboriginals today.

There are many unresolved issues relating to Aboriginals which we now prefer to identify as Indigenous Australians - there must be something distasteful about the word Aborigine but I haven't quite pinned down the reason for this. In fact, we must refer to Indigenous and Torres Strait Islanders rather than Aborigines.
I wonder if the Americans refer to Indians these days as Indigenous Americans so they won't confuse them with those people who originate in India...

Now Australian politicians have tried many different ways to accomodate Aboriginals and these are too many to list here, other than to say that each and every policy has been deemed a failure in one way or another.
Making seperate laws applicable to Aborigines is one example of this thinking. The idea originates from the same group of people who tell us that all cultures are equal and therefore multi-culturism should be the norm.
The way to accomodate the Aboriginal culture is to recognize that there are different laws within their culture to the laws that exist for the rest of us (white) Australians and to have these aboriginal laws apply instead when dealing with justice for the aboriginal community.

Seems reasonable doesn't it?

And now I come to the court case where an aboriginal leader expresses the opinion that bashing women is not such a big deal within aboriginal tribal law.

"The law as far as the Aboriginal law stands, violence on an Aboriginal woman is not really terrible but a mild one," Wali Wunungmurra told the court. "You can work around it."
Datjirri Wunungmurra, 51, a prominent artist and ceremonial leader of his Yolngu community, pleaded guilty to the aggravated assault of his sister-in-law Elaine Wunungmurra, who was repeatedly stabbed with a glass bottle following an alcohol-fuelled argument in September last year.

Read more:
 I suppose that all aboriginal women can rest assured that their culture is not under any threat and that they can find justice withing their traditional tribal laws.



Jeannie said...

Our long standing hereditary locals are now the First Nations. I get confused about the term Indian as well having grown up with Cowboys and Indians which makes no sense in the modern context.

Fact is, the former landowners culture would have changed if we'd never shown up anyway. It might not have been quite so dramatic but eventually, modern society would have imposed on these tribes anyway. I think they should just get with the program and do what everyone else has to do when something comes up that they don't like. If they lose? well too bad because most of us have to deal with losing.

Patrick Carroll said...

Well written Lexcen. These "Koorie Courts" only add to the problem, separate court proceedings and in many cases, no real punishment at all...

If you're "indigenous" that is...