Get to know the Aboriginals
- Aboriginal Australians could be the oldest population of humans living outside of Africa, where one theory says they migrated from in boats 70,000 years ago.
- It is generally held that Australian Aboriginal peoples originally came from Asia via insular Southeast Asia (now Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, East Timor, Indonesia, and the Philippines) and have been in Australia for at least 45,000–50,000 years.
- Before the British colonized Australia, it is estimated that about 750,000 to 1.25 million aboriginals inhabited the continents. Post colonization, large numbers were killed by disease and violence
- Between 1910 and 1970, government policies of assimilation led to between 10 and 33 percent of Aboriginal Australian children being forcibly removed from their homes. These “Stolen Generations” were put in adoptive families and institutions and forbidden from speaking their native languages. Their names were often changed.
When I visited areas such as Broome and Northern Territory, I was introduced to the Aboriginal people. Alcoholism and Poverty were rampant in their communities. There was a sense of desperation and hopelessness, which I found very difficult to understand. After learning more of their history and the then Australian government policies, I could understand why they felt this way. This was in 2007. I haven’t been back since then. But I hope things have changed. There is a new generation in Australia who want to deal with past mistakes and have led the way to better understanding and empathy for the Aboriginal communities. I hope relationships continue to be build and old wounds, while may never heal, are addressed.