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The Stolen Generation in Australia

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The Stolen Generation in Australia The Aboriginal people lived long on their land without any contact from the Europeans. They are believed to first arrive in Australia between 42,000 and 48,000 years ago (Beck). They managed to live in often inhospitable conditions unbearable for the inhabitants of the “old continent”. The Aborigines did not differ only in their living conditions, but also in their way of living in general, their culture. The aboriginal culture was based on several principles which did not come to understanding when the Europeans first arrived. Perhaps the most essential aspect of the Aboriginal culture is the “kinship obligation”, when everyone in the tribe is expected to perform certain tasks without being asked to (Encyclopædia Britannica 4). The white society, in contrast with the Australian indigenous people, was based (and still is) on the concept of private membership, something absolutely unknown in Australia prior to the European settlements. The irreconcilable differences led, in consequence, to clashes and misunderstandings between the two cultures. The Europeans, however, regarded themselves superior. Lloyd describes the situation in Australia after the arrival of the European settlers as being based on “the idea of Aborigines as an inferior ‘doomed race,’ superseded by more highly developed, more enlightened Europeans” (Lloyd). No matter whether this claim was legitimate or not, it had damaging consequences. James Cook landed in Botany Bay in 1770. The Aborigines did not develop any writing system, therefore could not properly or perhaps legally, at any rate to no satisfaction of the Europeans, prove their ownership of the land they occupied. The Europeans thus proclaimed the land to be terra nullius – belonging to no one (Lloyd). Lloyd comments on the way in which the concept of terra nullius was used to justify the seizure of...

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