Drama among Indigenous Australians

Drama among Indigenous Australians

It is rare for people to be harmed in Indigenous Australian communities to be white people, especially white women. First Nations societies drive the blade of violence into themselves.

Chapter of Marek Tomalik's book "At people"

Life there

Isolated Aboriginal communities vary in size – both in terms of area and number of inhabitants. And they are always open – at least to Native people. They can go on a ritual walkabout pilgrimage at any time and come back whenever they like.

Up to a hundred people live in the smallest settlements, and over a thousand in the largest ones. The number of whites contributing to communities is usually proportional. These are teachers, doctors, administrative workers and families of employees - wives, husbands and children. The location of communities has its roots in the past. They are located near a farm (there was work there, and therefore an opportunity to get food), around Christian missions or along some communication route convenient for the white man, for example near mines.

Inside the communities there are so-called secret zones, women's and men's, where some are unwelcome by others or are not allowed to enter at all. Most communities have a shop, office, health center, school, gas station, post office and telephone. A few even have an ATM and a pub, but most of these settlements, highly isolated in the desert, are "dry" in terms of alcohol and trying to bring alcohol there may be treated as a crime. High fines - from two thousand to five hundred thousand dollars - discourage potential traffickers from neighboring villages and make tourists think twice. The entry of a white person into a remote settlement is most often limited by a permit, which must be applied for at Aboriginal offices in state capitals.

It takes a long time and often ends in rejection. Whites are not allowed to enter many settlements, even with permission. The shops are very modestly stocked - but you can find cheaper (and authentic!) handicrafts there. Groceries are usually out of date and in limited supply: frozen toast, sugar, cola and canned goods, rarely anything else. After a heavy flood that cuts the community off from civilization for several weeks, this may not be the case either. Where there is a health center, you can ask for accommodation. There are usually slightly more beds than staff, so newcomers can take advantage of them. Doctors in the settlements have their hands full. Compared to white Australians, Indigenous people smoke and drink more, are more likely to have problems with hypertension, obesity and other diseases related to a sedentary (!) lifestyle, as well as diabetes (about thirty percent of Indigenous people are at potential risk).

Their way of eating is far from the "white" ideal, even further from the undoubtedly healthy diet of their ancestors. This is the result of a sudden departure from the traditional lifestyle. Fresh vegetables and fruits, and with them vitamins, reach remote desert communities very rarely. Sometimes never. The inhabitants of the settlements hunt sporadically and reluctantly. They also have no special devotion to their eternal natural pantry known as bush tucker. A few years ago, the government film project "Catch & Cook" was created - an audiovisual manual teaching how to hunt and prepare prey. There are also other programs that mobilize the body and spirit of the natives, trying to restore them to mother nature. However, there is a lack of research on the holistically understood Indigenous Australian. The white man – once again – tries to separate the soul and the body. And he makes a big mistake.

A cry of despair

The silence, or perhaps even the conspiracy of silence, surrounding Native people was broken at the end of the 20th century. Mainly thanks to Aboriginal women. They were the ones who had been shouting since the early 1990s for the government to stop turning a blind eye to the growing violence. The violence of which they are most often the victims. Twelve times more often than white Australian women in their "white" environment. In seventy percent of the adjudicated cases, the aggressor was the victim's husband or partner. It is rare for white people to be harmed in communities, especially white women, who experience violence forty-five times less often than Indigenous Australians. Aboriginal societies drive the blade of violence into themselves.

There are significant differences in crime levels depending on the settlement. Most sex crimes in Queensland are experienced by women in the most isolated northern communities. Since the early 2000s, even official government sources have reported that domestic violence and sexual crimes have reached alarming levels in many Aboriginal settlements. Appropriate tools (Task Forces) were launched many years ago to prevent the escalation of violence. Deviance and cruelty became widely accepted as an integral part of life in Indigenous Australian settlements.

Edie Carter's (Aboriginal Women Speak Out) report, based on dozens of interviews conducted in communities around Adelaide, struck a chord with the public. He recalls gang rapes involving almost fifty rapists. Seven percent of the women interviewed were raped regularly, fifty percent of them were aged 21–28. Perpetrators were Indigenous Australians (forty-one percent) and whites (forty-two percent).

Half of crimes occurred at home, and almost ninety percent of them were never reported. Out of shame and fear of revenge, but also out of fear of putting a partner, husband or father in prison. The crimes involving children remain the most hidden - from statistics and the outside world. The white man tries to find the reasons for this state of affairs and counteract it. The reasons seem obvious: the total marginalization of Indigenous Australians, deprivation of their right to land, which in turn led to the degradation of cultural tradition, the disappearance of tribal bonds, which previously - based on the natives' own law - worked fantastically. Promises broken by subsequent governments.

Rooted poverty, racism, alcohol and drugs, and against this background the male ego - already very strong in tradition - which, under the influence of stimulants, has become even "stronger", hopelessly cruel and out of control towards women and children. Many whites believe alcohol is responsible for violence. The aborigine is bad because he does not work (or works poorly) and does not value worldly goods. He is primitive, so he drinks, rapes and beats. I don't think anyone needs to be convinced that not all perpetrators of violence drink and many Indigenous Australians who drink are not aggressive.

Whites want to see things this way because alcohol was once their currency. Today it is a source of profit for… the Aboriginal Councils that run the bar system. It would be much healthier to hand them over to private hands. Profits from bars go to charity programs for children and… health funds. However and wherever these programs operate, it is easy to predict that the benefits they bring are outweighed by the devastation caused by the effects of alcoholism.

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