Aboriginal Heritage And The Role Of Indigenous Peoples, Past And Present:Frontier Warfare

1382 words - 6 pages

Histories of early relations between Aborigines and European settlers are rife with bias. Many primary sources from the era are inaccurate, the truth being omitted for political and social agendas. In particular, the Frontier Warfare aspect has been minimised in mainstream histories, particularly between the pastoralists and the tribes of Tasmania, and more recently in the accounts of Australian historian, Keith Windschuttle. This is to perpetuate the myth of helplessness and inferiority of the Aboriginal race. Many have seen the proclamation of war by Governor Arthur and the subsequent removal of all surviving Tasmanian Aborigines to a reservation, as the genocide of an ancient race, though there are some who choose to deny of any form of frontier warfare, thoroughly disputed by modern Aborigines and well-renowned writers and historians. It is clear to see that while mainstream society has for a long time dismissed frontier warfare as untrue, it did indeed occur and slowly, is being accepted by all but a few as the true version of Australian history.The issue of Frontier Warfare began with the invasion and outward spread of European settlers, the proclamation of Terra Nullius further stripping Aborigines of any land rights. From 1788 to 1900 there were many bad relations between settlers and Aborigines. A source adapted from Six Australian Battlefields shows the relationship the Aborigines had with the land.The spirits gave Black Australians their land. Land could not be bought, sold or taken in fights. The land belonged to the people and the people belong to the land forever. (Grassby, A. and Hill, M., 1988, p2.)In this source it is clear that the Aborigines saw themselves as owners of the land, and that the declaration of Terra Nullius was false. However this was inconvenient for the European settlers, so they declared the Aborigines as being little more than animals in terms of intellect, and thus, it seemed that they could have no ties of ownership to the land. As more settlers arrived, they began to drive Aborigines away from the more fertile areas, creating farms and towns. This, in turn, led to bouts of fighting between the settlers and the Aborigines, and later, separate tribes of Aborigines as they began to encroach upon each other's territory. The fighting between the settlers has been minimised in the extreme, and only today is coming into the open. This is because the battles were unfair in favour of the settlers because of weaponry, and horses that the Aborigines had never had access or exposure to before now.Most battles were won by the settlers because of the far more advanced arms and styles of fighting, which were to their advantage. This led the Aborigines to fear the settlers, leading to hatred and attempts at revenge. Often, they would attempt to kill those they believed had wronged them, creating a further spiral vengeance. One source, by a farmer in Victoria shows an example of this.The blacks killed a man named Brown. The...

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