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Aboriginal Readings - Week 1

  1. My reading and understanding of the book have made me feel very sympathetic towards the Aboriginals and people of Torres Strait Islander. It has also made me feel ashamed for the atrocities done and biased behavior exhibited in the past and yet continuing that original residents of the land were forced to take hiding in their own land and move to an area with fewer resources and habitation. This made their life miserable as there was a shortage of food, medical facilities, and education (Newman, 2019). The depiction of Bottom is true and holds the correct picture of the atrocities and pain caused to the Aboriginals which they still are strangled with. Since my birth was not in Australia, it is not easy to apply a holistic approach as designed by Ernie Grant however, nevertheless, it should not stop me or others to make an attempt to do justice and good act. Since we need to establish a connection with the Aboriginal community, we need to follow Grant's model by understanding the culture and thought process of them. We need to respect their values and culture and help them to feel safe with us and open up gradually. It is important to understand their language as it would help them understand our approach and lead to effective communication. Thus if we perform below acts then we would be in a better position to help the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residents:
  2. Acknowledge diversity: since there are many different nations and language groups thorough out the continent, it is important to know the basic form of them both written and verbal. This would also help us understand the diversity as each and every community is diverse in nature and thus we need to respect them as well and generate trust from the native people (Milward, 2019).
  3. Understand history: ever since the British invaded Australia and led their inhumane punishments to Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islander people, there were juvenile arrests, drug trafficking and other such instances which have led them to be alienated from the fellow Australians and they are yet under trauma and not able to accept their land as their own (Phillips, 2017). Thus such history and understanding of pain and trauma would help us have a compassionate and sympathetic approach towards them and we would be able to help them in a better way.
  4. Many times it happens that government policies are made but they have little impact on the lives of people for whom such policies were made. Although Australian government is trying to do their bit and make Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islander people feel good and better by making rules to protect them, it is also advised that some representative tries to understand the most important things require day them irrespective of deciding on our own. Such communication would ensure a positive impact on the aggrieved and they would be willing to participate more and open up.
  5. While dealing with Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islander people, it is important to understand their culture and respect the differences and treat the same as one of the many issues we are trying to fix, since they are too proud of their culture we should not try to insult them or mock their practice.
  6. Collaborate: it is important to have correct representation from the community of Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islander people and thus we need to identify and find the person who would act as a medium to communicate our agenda and revert back with their feedback and other requirements (Phillips, 2019).
  7. Since things could not be corrected in a short span of time, it is important for the government and fellow citizens to be patient and compassionate and give more than sufficient time for Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islander people to come out of their cocoon and respond to government policies and live like any other Australian.

Aboriginal Readings - Week 2

Since I have not witnessed such mass exodus in my birth country and only after studying in Australia have I realized such inhumane conduct of any government to its native people, I feel depressed and left in shock as the action meted out to Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islander people and the impact as on date in their minds was brutal. Even after that, they were subjected to draconian rules like they could not enter the city after 6 p.m., the kids were sentenced to imprisonment and lived alongside criminals (Taylor, 2017). The juvenile arrests led to various acts of violence and a surge in the number of deaths due to arrests. Though our social work, we intend to bring back the respect and glory of Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islander people. We would endeavor to make them feel important and respected and thus would earn their trust and make them aware of multiple facilities and regulations to protect their interests and other facilities like education and medical assistance offered to them.

All these are important to change their pathetic condition and make them feel welcomed and understand that the Australian's are a change dolt now and gone are the days of atrocities to them. In the modern-day, they are being supported and requested to come out and explore their land with their welcome being done by all. Also, before we boast of such practices, it is important for us to first understand their history and culture and also understand their state of mind which would be under a state of shock and they would behave in a conservative manner (Macedo, et al, 2018). We need to be compassionate with them and ensure that we do not do anything intentionally or unintentionally that would make them feel insecure or inferior and remind them of their horrible past. Thus it is important to understand their culture, history, and psyche as well.

Since I am not an Australian by birth I was also subject to a certain amount of racial discrimination at college and in day to day life in my initial days. Although it took some time I got used to it and also learned to look at things from the Australian way and thus things became a bit easier. Normally, one needs to understand and adjust to the local practices and culture however, in the case of Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islander people such things were opposite as they were forced to understand the culture of other people and were mocked and insulted of their culture. Since my initial days, I was mocked at my vocal abilities due to differences in dialect; I was subjected to certain mockery (Fogarty, 2018). Also, since I am from different culture and background, my approach and perception were different than the local people and thus it was also a bit of challenge in the initial days. To name few more challenges, food was different, clothes and culture were very different, the mental setup was different and there were certain good practices as well which I adopted and benefited in personal life as well. To name one such change in practice is that teenagers are aware to earn their pocket money and expenses themselves rather than being a burden on the parents.

Aboriginal Readings - Week 3

Before my arrival in Australia, I was not aware of all of the people of Torres Strait Island. I only knew advanced Australia as we see in movies, sports, and the corporate world. From the readings and my stay in Australia, I have learned a lot about them and know that they are from the state of Queensland and are ethically different from the Aboriginal people. While as on date majority of them stays on the Australian mainland than on the island, they were also subjected to atrocities and neglect over the years. Traditionally, they are seafaring and have strong artistic culture, in sculpture, print, and mask-making. While folk history suggests they were Papua-Austronesian by culture and were fond of hunting. Their lives changed post-colonization when they were forced to convert to Christianity and their belief and culture were insulted and lost relevance. Such a practice made them lose their art, forget about the culture, and made them slaves. Torres Strait Islander culture was largely restricted to folk dance and song, art, weaving, and mask/sculpture making. They were also fond of ceremonial dance and had five different cultures within them (Byrne, 2018).

The history of the Indigenous people of the Torres Strait Island is unique and different from Aboriginals as they seemed to have certain advanced scientific methods with them to live their livelihood. They were engaged in agriculture, hunting of seafood, sea voyage used to be their passion and were an explorer and had a huge presence in trade and thus were a self-sufficient business community as well (Coleman, 2017). There used to be slight differences in each island that defined their presence as a culturally advanced community. Their history was handwritten and preserved with them in the form of books and scriptures. They were a proper civilized society with education, trade, sea voyage systems in place (Fogarty, 2017). They were rich in art and culture and had various objects made for trade and were rich in individual talent. Such things show that natives to Torres Island were virtually advanced lots than Aboriginals and were much more civilized and cultured. Also, they were peace-loving as it was easy for the Britishers to attack and destroy their art and culture and ruin their sculptures and turn them to Christianity.

While they remained in a state of shock over the loss of power and forced conversion, they remained helpless and thus were subject to atrocities as were the Aboriginals. While studying of their culture and the pain they have undergone through, I feel despair inside and a strong urge to do something for them so that they are relieved of their trauma and could live a normal life and gradually return to their art and culture with help from modern-day facilities and systems. The present state of affairs gives a shock to all of us and we cannot imagine the sufferings they would have gone through and the state of neglect they would have faced. It is also to be seen that they feel neglected and biased as on date and struggle for basic facilities of life such as better education and medical facilities (Coleman, 2017).

It would take a great effort and time and patience to bring them back to their usual self and feel at home in Australia but with the government help and support it seems that the same could be achieved in due course of time and gradually both Aboriginal and people from Torres Strait Island would open up and feel as if they belong to Australia they always lived in and it would be possible only by support and welcome from fellow Australians and government support. Although this is a far fledged dream, it could be achieved by patience, perseverance, compassion, and affection.

References for Aboriginal Readings

Berry, J. W., & Dasen, P. R. (Eds.). (2019). Culture and cognition: Readings in cross-cultural psychology. Routledge.

Byrne, P. J. (2018). The New South Wales Bar and Aboriginal people: making Aboriginal subjects c. 1830–1866. History Australia15(3), 413-429.

Coleman, E. B. (2017). Aboriginal art, identity and appropriation. Routledge.

Fogarty, W., Lovell, M., Langenberg, J., & Heron, M. J. (2018). Deficit discourse and strengths-based approaches: changing the narrative of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing. Deficit Discourse and Strengths-based Approaches: Changing the Narrative of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Wellbeing, viii.

Macedo, D. M., Smithers, L. G., Roberts, R. M., Haag, D. G., Paradies, Y., & Jamieson, L. M. (2019). Does ethnic-racial identity modify the effects of racism on the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal Australian children?. Plos one14(8), e0220744.

Milward, D. (2019). Aboriginal Peoples and the Law: A Critical Introduction. BC Studies, (201), 159-160.

Newman, D. G. (2019). Revisiting the duty to consult Aboriginal peoples. Purich Publishing.

Phillips, L. G., & Moroney, K. (2017). Civic action and learning with a community of Aboriginal Australian young children. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood42(4), 87-96.

Phillips, S. R., & Archer-Lean, C. (2019). Decolonising the reading of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writing: reflection as transformative practice. Higher Education Research & Development38(1), 24-37.

Taylor, S., Fatima, Y., & Solomon, S. (2017). Factors affecting the self-monitoring of blood glucose levels in Aboriginal patients: Findings from a remote community. Australian Indigenous Health Bulletin17, 1-8.

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