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About Civil Rights

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Date added: 19-03-22


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The still continuing civil rights movement for the Aboriginal people of Australia has had no influence on other movements and has not received any influence from any other movements in the world relating to indigenous, or aboriginal, people of a nation.
One of the first things to acknowledge is the similarities of oppression a colonizing power enacts upon the indigenous people encountered, and that even though they are similar they are not influenced by each other. After the colonizing power reaches the new destination it promotes genocide of the people there before the colonizing power. For example, the Mexican state Sonora put a bounty on the Apache tribe which eventually evolved to a payment of 100 pesos in 1835 for the payment of a Apache's scalp. To put that sum of money into perspective 100 pesos would be about 135 USD today. After a while different oppressed groups started to scalp the Apache tribes: runaway slaves, different indian tribes such as the Shawnees (Worcester).

Captain James Cook documented the first interaction with the indigenous people of Australia in 1770, and in 1778 the first fleet arrived in Botany Bay, starting the colonization of Australia by the British. In Just 51 years the population of the indigenous people had shrank from over 1 million to 300,000 due to the spread of new diseases such as smallpox (Rayburn) . A second example of oppression from a colonizing group occured in Australia. In 1830 the newly started government offered a bounty for any Australian aboriginal people: 5?? for a full grown male and 3?? for a child (Stockton). In the United States colonizers such as Jeffrey Amherst made sure he gave the indigenous people smallpox infested blankets knowing they had no immunity to the virus (Fenn). The three situations given above show the oppression of indigenous people soon after the colonizers had settled. Although the two both show the oppression of indigenous people they could not have influenced each other as they happened at the same time but on different parts of the globe.

The retaliations of Indigenous people against the Europeans only happened due to the oppression they faced and not because they were influenced by other oppressed groups.The Europeans colonized the land which was once the indigenous peoples and started growing crops and livestock on the land. Then, when the aboriginal people started to come onto the land the newly settled Europeans had ?claimed' they were shot and killed. This was one of the first demonstrations of a lack of civil rights in Australia as the aboriginals had thought they were equal to the colonizers but were proven wrong upon contact (Stockton). Half a century later most of the surviving aboriginals had been relocated to southern Australia where their land was supposedly theirs, but after a few years they found this was not the case: the Europeans had expanded their agriculture to southern australia as they had started to run out of nitrogen rich soil due to aggressive agriculture.

The Europeans decided to start and mass produce cattle in Southern Australia even though the aboriginals showed widespread resistance through sabotage of the colonist's farms (Electoral Commission). As societies advance the Europeans and aboriginal people started to live side by side and followed the same laws. Even though the aboriginal people now coexisted with their oppressors they were still not granted the same rights. In 1870 a law was passed entitling only British males to vote (Fenn). All three of the examples listed above only pertain to the civil rights of indigenous australians without outside influence because the specific wants and needs of the aboriginal people caused there to be such a retaliation.

The most interesting part of the progression of civil rights for indigenous people in australia is that it doesn't seem to follow normal conventions. One example of how Australia is unaffected by being a pioneer of rights is that it is still the only democratic nation in the world that doesn't have a Bill of Rights. In fact the reason why aboriginals are treated differently in the eyes of the law in Australia is becuase the Australian constitution says indigenous people are to follow a different set of laws(Donald). Another example of how countries in Australia are pioneers when concerned with human rights is that New Zealand was the first country in the world to given women the right to vote, but not just the British women but the oppressed, indigenous women as well(Williams). Finally in 1963 the policy that aboriginal children could be removed for the purpose of "protection" was repealed.

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