2005 – 2014 is noted as the Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People. The aim of such a commemoration according to the UN, is to: “…further strengthening of international cooperation to solve problems faced by indigenous people in such areas as culture, education, health, human rights, the environment, and economic and social development. The known history of the Koori has been one of invasion, genocide, land theft, rape, torture, removal of children, and elimination of livelihood, culture, and justice, when injustice holds the Sword of Damocles!
The colonization of Australia in 1788 onwards was based on the false premise of Terra Nullius, or vacant land. Yet, in the record of Captain Cook, and many other explorers, there are numerous confirmations of sightings of the Koori, and in fact Captain Cook even bartered with them in what is now known as North Queensland.
The “Nordic Theory” more commonly known as the “Doomed Race Theory” was a theory prevalent in the 19th and 20th century. The theory claimed North Europeans to be the “master race”, and that primitive people will naturally not withstand the forces of civilization.
The “doomed race” concept formed the basis for the “smooth the dying pillow” philosophy.
Smooth the Dying Pillow
Social Darwinism was a popular notion in Australia, especially around the scientific community. Governments typically viewed the Koori as a nuisance. The violence and disease associated with colonization was embedded in the language of social Darwinism, as a natural process of the “survival of the fittest”. The colonial process had reduced the Aborigines to a residual minority, and the policy of “Smooth the Dying Pillow” emerged and formulated the Aborigines Protection Act of 1909. The premise was that:
In the governmental “Lost Lands Report”, 2003, the following is stated:
- “The first Aboriginal reserves were created for such protectionist purposes. They were lands the Crown had declared were to be reserved “for the use and benefit of aboriginal inhabitants” with the intention that, at best, they would facilitate missionary efforts to Christianize and civilize Aboriginal people, and at the very least, they would help to “smooth the dying pillow” of a doomed race”.
Subject to massacres, malnutrition, rape and disease during the 19th century, the Koori population decreased dramatically, whilst the mixed race population increased. Those of mixed race were to be assimilated into society to provide future labor, and full Kooris, were to be segregated from the occupying population.
The result was:
• Reduced means of sustainability
• Increase dependence on rations
• The land of those who were able to purchase land, was designated as reservations for which they were denied full ownership
• Purchased land could not left their wives and children
• Were not given cash payments for work done on pastoral land of their occupiers
After The Aborigines Act of 1905
• Koori’s were confined to reservations
• The Chief Protector was made legal protector of all Koori and mixed race children under 16 years of age
• The Chief Protector had the power to oversee and seize control of all land purchased by Kooris
• All Koori children in state schools were removed to allow for further segregation
• First commemoration of the “Day of Mourning” in Sydney, which signifies the colonization of Australia. Many were threatened, had their rations withdrawn, and denied right to return to their reservations.
• Kooris were banned from Central Perth in 1927 – 1948
• The Convention of Genocide was ratified by Australia in 1949
• “Freedom Ride” protests by Koori and white students began in 1965 against segregation, and bad treatment.
• The Aboriginal Protection Board was abolished in 1968
• The right to refuse Koori children in schools by school Principals was removed in 1972
• The Federal Race Discrimination Act was passed in 1975
• The National Federation of Land Rights Council was formed in 1980.
• Uluru Rock (Ayres Rock) was returned to the traditional owners in 1985
• 1992 was the year that the concept of Terra Nullius is fictitious, and that the original inhabitants should be allowed to continue their customs, laws, and culture
• 1995 The first enquiry into the forced removal of Koori children from their families
• 1999, the first Koori senator, Aden Ridgeway was elected in North South Wales
Ack, T.L. & Bloodworth, S. Genocide: The Australian Way. The Truth About the Stolen
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