Friday, August 17, 2012

More on Indigenous Australians

That sense of freedom
Dirty windows on my flight from Adelaide to Perth

Coming back from a conference/education/seminar/course in Adelaide, I was sitting on the plane and pondering upon things.

One of the very interesting things is that Qantas showed an Aborigine-themed film both on the way there and back. The first was The Sapphires, a group of four Aboriginal sisters who got discovered and sang for the troops in Vietnam during the WWII.

The other was Mabo, a film about the first precedent in the Australian law system, when a Torres Strait Islander got the native title over his land in the area. Even though it was a ten-year fight and he didn't live long enough to witness it, it was that day in 1992 that changed everything.

Note: There is a slight difference between the terms Indigenous and Aboriginal. People who lived in Australia before the discovery by the white man were divided into several groups. It is thus not the same nowadays. Both Aborigines and people who live in the Torres Strait Islands are Indigenous, but are considered separate groups. In the official paperwork there is a question regarding whether one consider oneself to be an Aboriginal person or a Torres Strait Islander.

Anyhow, listening about the history, the struggle and the law cases, and hearing personal stories and experiences from the elders (older, wiser and decision-making Aborigines), it got me thinking.

The whole story's incredibly close to what happened to the Indian (and later African) people in America. The harassment, the segregation, the misconduct, the loss of right, the shooting-off-the-property. It just made me realize how wrong things went.

I'm therefore very happy to see that at least something is changing these days, and that I'm part of the whole story, with as little as I know and with the even less I can offer. But there's a good feeling in each case won, in each agreement settled and each smile upon people's faces.

It just gives me an additional buff, verve and zest to sleeve up and hit it off!



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