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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Aboriginal Australia

So, it's been forever since our last blog post.  We do need to get more consistent with this thing.  That's all on me though... I'm the one with all the time on his hands.

I wanted to share some real knowledge with you all about Australia and some of its history... beyond the tourist-type stuff.

I've seen this documentary on NITV recently.  NITV is like BET except brand new.  They literally went on basic cable or "free to air" the week Tracina and I got here.  We got to witness Australian history.

NITV tells the indigenous stories of Australia from the very people themselves.  Now, of course the term used is "Aboriginal".  But... the tapestry of people that it covers is amazing.

A recent program that I was watching informed me that Aboriginal people, which for those that don't know, both have the oldest continuous culture on the planet and are among the oldest surviving ethnicities on the planet.  Something interesting about the people is that their genetic lineage is actually closer in line with Southeast Asians more so than Africans.  Africans did migrate to Asia and then Australia thousands of years ago.

Yet, for racial purposes, they are referred to as black here in Australia.  But, an Aboriginal man and an African man do not favor tremendously.  And while we're on the subject... just what does an Aboriginal person look like?

They are actually as diverse as African-Americans or any other people of color.  There are dark-skinned indigenous people here that have either darker hair or striking blonde hair.  Some also have dark skin, blonde hair, and blue eyes.  Some are very fair-skinned with dark hair and green or hazel eyes.  They would be the equivalent of what we would call mixed or the outdated term of mulatto back in the States.

I also saw this documentary about this movie that was made about them a few decades ago.  The movie series "Women of the Sun" is the equivalent of "Roots", "The Color Purple", and "Imitation of Life" for African-Americans in the States. It was the first time that a national audience saw a movie that was the honest depiction of what happened to the indigenous culture of the continent.  I'll spare you a lot of the details, but the movie covered such things as babies born between Aboriginal women and their white headmasters of the approved Aborigines settlements.  It also covered what's called "The Stolen Generation" where fair-skinned indigenous children who even sometimes appeared white were taken from their homes and sometimes permanently disconnected from their families. The documentary interviewed many of the actors, actresses, and their families from the film.  Many of the stories depicted in the film were, in fact, their own.  

I could go on and on about this because I'm a history buff.  But, I'll give you some history for now and then more as I learn more.  I rented a documentary from the library (yep--I'm a member!) on the conflict between Aboriginal people and the mining companies who want to mine on their land.  In this conflict, there is a parallel between the Native American reservations in the States and their condition as well as how
Aboriginals live here.  And I must tell you that some of the natives here are in profound poverty--worse than even the worse places in the US.  Things we take for granted such as how to treat a severe cut are not always common knowledge in Aboriginal cultures.

I guess I find their story so fascinating because they are like distant relatives to Africans, African-Americans, and closely linked to Southeast Asians.  They are proof of the great diaspora of people out of Africa and concrete proof that blonde hair and blue eyes... or any facial feature... aren't solely those of one race.

Today, native Aborigines still have dozens of languages and various tribes.  They even have their own language known commonly as Aboriginal English.  Sensitive educators would often tell other educators not to call it broken English.  The term Broken English can be synonymous with a broken people and can damage a student's self-esteem especially dealing with their own culture.

In closing, I've posted some pictures of Aborigines people so that you can see what I am talking about.  I haven't knowingly seen many Natives, but they are here in Sydney.  They're found in an area known as Redfern among others.

I also just read about an inaugural Aborigines fashion week in Sydney this August.  This is where I found the picture of this model from at the bottom.  Very exciting and excited for them!

Thanks for reading!  The next blog I promise won't be another history lesson.   :)  


  1. Thanks so much Tyree! Loving the blog and truly excited about the adventure you and your lovely wife are on! Have a great time and keep the posts coming!