Don't forget the natives | Teen Ink

Don't forget the natives

February 4, 2009
By Annette Woodward BRONZE, Moss, Other
Annette Woodward BRONZE, Moss, Other
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

'Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves'
These are wise words spoken by Abraham Lincoln. It is true that we should treat others the way we wish to be treated ourselves. We are people. We are all people. Every single person should be able to live a free life. I believe freedom isn't achieved. I believe we're born free and are born to take control over our own lives. We have voices to speak and we have brains to make our own decisions. Reading history books I find it surreal that people were bought and sold like property. How could any one claim to own an other human being?

We've all heard about the conflicts between the Indians and the cowboys (Europeans) in northern America and the apartheid in South Africa. Europeans have acted like monsters towards the native people in these countries. They 'discovered' new land and had no respect for the people who already lived there. The native people didn't have the same weapons as the Europeans. In a lot of countries the natives have been extinct.

Australia is no exception. The first British settlers came to Australia in 1788. It was popular to send convicts t Australia to keep them away from Britain. A few years' later 'regular' people came to the continent and settled down. However, there were already people living in Australia. The native people, the aborigines had been living in Australia for thousands of years. The Europeans arrived and suddenly claimed that the land was theirs. Like any land the Europeans explored there were never any discussions. The aborigines had no say what's so ever and had to step aside for the British. The land was more than big enough for both people, but as the greedy human history says, sharing is not an option.

The whites in Australia weren't as violent as the Europeans in northern America. No apartheid was established like in South Africa and the aboriginal people had more freedom than the black slaves in America. The aborigines were not killed like native people in many other countries, but their culture and traditions were not respected. The whites wanted to 'help' the aborigines by converting them in to Christian mannered citizens. They treated the problem as if they were doing the natives a favour and never thought that they disrespected or violated the aboriginal lifestyle.

Even though the British didn't put the aborigines in prisons and beat them they did something very painful to the families. Their idea was to slowly extinct the aboriginal people generation by generation. They brought every half child (half aborigines, half white) to a school were they learned manners, responsibility and became a part of the British community. This was not by choice. The aboriginal children had to leave their home and parents behind and the poor mothers were not aloud to see their children. The native language was forbidden and the only religion aloud was Christianity.

I think this is one of the most painful experiences that a person can go through. A mother would rather die than to lose her child and seeing your children sent away and never brought back must be very hard. Many women never recover.

Being beat and physically damaged hurts, but at least you have your pride and values. The small aboriginal children who were taken away probably didn't realise what happened. For the bigger children who'd already learned a way of life it was harder. Everything they learned in their home was forbidden and replaced with foreign traditions. It's like losing your identity.

Luckily the aboriginal people are respected today. They are regular Australian citizens, but the past definitely leaves its scares. In Australia the population consists of only 0.5 % aboriginal people.

Why the native people have been outnumbered by the European in a lot of non- European countries is not easy to say. They obviously stood no chance against the European armies. The natives had no horses or modern weapons. The big question however is why there were constant fights between the natives and the newcomers? A lot of natives were peaceful and I would very much like to think that all Europeans weren't monsters. Unfortunately power brings out the worst in people. The truth is that even the nicest person can fall for the temptation. The temptation being to have power over somebody else. What we should keep in mind is that freedom is something every person is worthy of. There are no requirements to achieve freedom. Like a wise man once said: 'Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves'

The author's comments:
I've read about the Indians in America, but I've never thought about native people in other continents before. I saw the movie 'Rabbit proof fence' at school and it really touched me. Humans can be so mean and selfish. I decided to write a text about the Australian aborigines. Many students only hear about their own country's culture and traditions and only study the most famous historical events. A lot of people have heard about the aborigines, but few know what really happened to them. There for, I wanted to write this text for other teens to read. We must always appreciate our freedom, not everyone can take it for granted.

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This article has 1 comment.

Bethani GOLD said...
on Dec. 21 2010 at 10:00 pm
Bethani GOLD, Highlands Ranch, Colorado
10 articles 0 photos 508 comments

Favorite Quote:
Life is perfect until you sit back and realize how boring it is without risks.

Very informative. I agree with you! So sad :(