Indigenous Spirituality Essay

1016 words - 4 pages

In 1909 the "Aborigines Protection Act"1 was established which gave the government the power of custody and education of all Aboriginal children. In 1938 anthropologist AP Elkin proposed the concept of "assimilation"2 to the Commonwealth and state governments of Australia. Assimilation was a method by which Australia's "˜mixed blood' aboriginals could be absorbed by the general society. Little did AP Elkin and the heads of Commonwealth and state governments of the time know that assimilation would have such a negative affect to thousands of indigenous Australians in the years to follow. By 1951 the assimilation policy was in full swing and the separation of young aboriginal children from their families was a common practise. The generation of people who were taken away from their families is now known as the "Stolen Generation". Members of the stolen generation all lost a great deal of their indigenous spirituality as a result of the assimilation process.Archie Roach was three years old when he was taken away from his family. A member of the Gundi Tjmaru people of Warrnambool in Western Victoria, Archie was taken away before he had the chance to learn about the spirituality of his people. Archie was not the only child to be taken away from his family; his three sisters and two brothers were also taken away. His parents were told that their children were being taken away for a "picnic"3 and they never saw them again. Archie was "institutionalized"4 in a Salvation Army orphanage in Melbourne where he was taught English in preparation to be sent to a foster home. Archie did not have pleasant foster home experiences in his first two foster homes. In one of those homes he ended up in court as a result of the physical abuse, which he endured. Archie's third home was a much happier home for him. Archie lived with the Cox's; who were very interested in music. From this Archie fell in love with music, which would eventually give him the spiritual will power to search for his true identity.Archie began writing songs in 1987 after attending an Alcoholics Anonymous rehabilitation course. Archie's first song was "Took the Children Away", he wrote the song as a spiritual release as at the time he was "feeling sorry"5 for himself. The song is about himself, and how he was taken away from his family at an early age. "Took the Children Away" is a powerful song that touches the heart of all Australian people, lyrics such as ""¦ we were acting white yet feeling black"6 tells of the spiritual loss felt by all those who were taken away from their families. Archie was never able to have the continuous connection with the Dreaming, which is very important to the spirituality of an indigenous Australian person all because he was a member of the Stolen Generation.Millicent D was also a member of the Stolen Generation. In 1949 at the tender age of four Millicent was taken...

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