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Australian Settlement. Australia has two indigenous peoples - Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders. There are many different kinds of religions between the Aboriginal tribes.

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Australian Settlement


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    1. Australian Settlement Australia has two indigenous peoples - Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders. There are many different kinds of religions between the Aboriginal tribes. It is misleading to try to separate Australian indigenous religious experience from other aspects of their life, culture and history. It is also difficult to speak of origins, because the aboriginal idea of time connects past actions and people with present and even future generations. Time is circular, not linear, as each generation relives the Dreaming activities. The Dreaming or Dreamtime is the English name given to the strands of Aboriginal belief and world view. They refer not just to historical past but to a fusion of identity and spiritual connection with the timeless present. A similar concept with other names stands at the heart of Torres Strait Islander spirituality. Feeling the aboriginal concept of the present. Close your eyes and picture your hands. Be “present” in this thought. Think of “the present” as a lump of shiny gold. Stop your mind from drifting forward in time or back in time. Feel the aboriginal concept of “present time”.

    2. 10 thousand years ago Tomorrow 10 thousand years from now. The present The aboriginal concept of time is not linear, but that everything repeats itself. That everything that has ever happened, or will ever happen, is at the same point. The only thing that is real, is “The Present”.

    3. Although indigenous beliefs and cultural practices vary according to region, all groups share in a common world-view that the land and other natural phenomena possess living souls. The collection of stories of these powerful beings and the knowledge represented in these stories, shapes the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander world view [way they view the world], both its history and its future. Other groups in the world that believe that all living and non-living things in the natural world have knowledge, feelings and a “life” of their own:

    4. Key BeliefsThe earth is eternal, and so are the many ancestral figures / beings who inhabit it. These beings are often associated with particular animals, for example Kangaroo-men, Emu-men or Bowerbird-women.As they journeyed across the face of the Earth these powerful beings created human, plant and animal life; and they left traces of their journeys in the natural features of the land. They also connected particular groups of people with particular regions and languages.Some groups held belief in a supreme being.The Dreaming continues to control the natural world. Organisational StructureEach clan-grouping has an important religious specialist who will initiate and foster contact with spirits and divinities. Specific elders may also be keepers of specific stories or rituals. Sometimes this knowledge is segregated according to gender - there is men's business and women's business.

    5. Australia's indigenous peoples arrived about 40,000 years ago, when Asia and Australia were still connected by a land bridge. As the land masses separated, the population adapted itself to the various environmental and climatic conditions of this continent. Aborigines were nomadic, moving through the land in cycles, sometimes meeting with and sharing stories with other clan-groups. Torres Strait Islanders, who are Melanesian by ethnic origin, were seafaring and trading peoples based on the islands between far North Queensland and Papua New Guinea, and their spirituality and customs reflected their dependence on the sea. Do now: Look up nomadic, Melanesian, seafaring, customs, reflected and dependence in the dictionary and record their meanings.

    6. Australian HistoryWhen the first Europeans settled in Australia in 1788 there were, perhaps, a million Aborigines in Australia and over 200 different spoken languages. This population was significantly and quickly depleted through a combination of warfare, disease and dispossession of lands. One reason for the cultural acceptability of colonial violence was the mistaken belief that Aborigines had no religion. The continuous Christian missionary presence in Aboriginal communities since 1821 has seen many Aborigines convert to Christianity. Indigenous communities across Australia's Top End had contact with the Muslim Macassan traders for many centuries before white settlement. In the 1996 Australian census, more than 7000 respondents indicated that they followed a traditional Aboriginal religion. • What was one of the reasons that white settlers in Australia thought it was ok to act with violence towards the native people? • What religion did more than 7000 Aborigines follow in 1996? • What other religions did they Aborigines follow?

    7. Terra Nullius In 1770 Captain James Cook landed in Botany Bay, home of the Eora people, and claimed possession of the East Coast of Australia for Britain under the doctrine of 'terra nullius‘. According to the international law of Europe in the late 18th century, there were only three ways that Britain could take possession of another country: If the country was uninhabited, Britain could claim and settle that country. In this case, it could claim ownership of the land. If the country was already inhabited, Britain could ask for permission from the indigenous people to use some of their land. In this case, Britain could purchase land for its own use but it could not steal the land of the indigenous people. If the country was inhabited, Britain could take over the country by invasion and conquest- in other words, defeat that country in war. However, even after winning a war, Britain would have to respect the rights of indigenous people. Do Now: 1. What were the three ways that Britain could take over another country according to the international law of Europe in the late 18th century? 2. What do you notice about the title “international law of Europe”?

    8. The myth of Terra Nullius Strangely Britain did not follow any of these rules in Australia. Since there were already people living in Australia, Britain could not take possession by "settling" this country. However, from the time of Captain Cook's arrival, the British Government acted as if Australia was uninhabited. So, instead of admitting that it was invading land that belonged to Aboriginal people, Britain acted as it were settling an empty land. This is what is meant by the myth of terra nullius. Do Now: 1. Please explain “the myth of Terra Nullius” and how it applied to Australian settlement by the British. Statement ; explanation; example. 2. Thinking question – inference from this new knowledge How would the myth of Terra Nullius add to a cultural acceptance of violence towards the native people?