A Historic Meeting In Australia

Jun 26, 2017 By Aaditi P., Young Editor
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Historically, there has been peace and cooperation between the indigenous people and settlers in many countries.

However, Australia has had a long period of rocky relationship with its native Aboriginal people. But that may be about to change...

Recently, in May, indigenous leaders gathered at Australia's famous landmark-- the Uluru monolith, to discuss being recognized as part of the Australian population. The meeting happened to fall on the 50th anniversary of a historic vote that finally included the Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders in the national population count (or census) .

Who Are The Aborigines?

The first inhabitants of Australia, who came to the island about 45,000 years ago, are known as the Aborigines. Thriving along the coast, the people created dykes to bring them water and used the supply to irrigate their farmland. The tribes that lived inland relied on hunting and gathering to survive. Now, a majority of the Aborigines live in small towns on the outskirts, and some work as laborers on ranches. 

Religion is an important aspect of the Aborigines’ life, and it is based on the environment and nature around them. They believe that they are surrounded by spiritual forces, which contribute to pieces of their life. They also believe that from the environment, they came into existence as physical human beings. 

Aborigines are also known for their colorful culture, including music and arts. Aboriginal art can be traced as far as thousands of years ago, and it includes rock art and bark painting. Some of the rock art can be found at Uluru, which is a UNESCO world heritage site. Aboriginal music has developed through social and cultural ceremonies, where various styles of music are performed.

A Future Treaty?

The summit that is being held at Uluru might impact the possibility of a future treaty between the government and the Aborigines. But the question is - why isn’t there a treaty already? Various other British dominions such as the United States, New Zealand, and Canada have signed treaties with the native indigenous people.

Ever since Australia’s constitution was written, the bond between the government and the Aborigines have not been good. The constitution contained a couple of contentious sections (sections that excluded people of different race from certain rights) - two of which were removed in the late 1960’s. Many politicians have acknowledged the sufferings of the Aborigines, and made promises to sign a treaty. For example, The, then, prime minister Kevin Rudd apologized for several policies, which have harmed the well-being of the Aborigines.

Despite the blunt words and promises, no major steps have been taken, yet, to ensure peace and cooperation with the Aborigines. Hopefully, the summit will influence the decision to change the constitution and to include the Aborigines as a true part of the Australian population.