Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The policies of protection, segregation and assimilation

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The policies of protection, segregation and assimilation impacted Indigenous Australians greatly. The attitudes of the European Australians also reflected how they viewed the Aborigines as savages. The effects of European colonisation on Australian Aborigines can simply be described as devastating, to both the people and the culture. The policies were created by the Europeans in order to control the Aborigines and try and educate them to be like the Europeans. These policies continued throughout the 1800’s and into the 100’s.

Europeans took the view that Aborigines were capable of becoming like Europeans through education and other cultural teachings, but until then they would remain uneducated and uncouth. This is initially how the European policies were first created. They were established to deal with the Aborigines. The law viewed Aborigines as having equal rights, but the rights no longer existed with the enforcement of such policies. However, later European attitudes and policies changed to reflect the racist ideas that began to dominate thinking. A caste system was established and Richard Broome states that this was where “people were assigned or denied opportunities depending on factors outside of their control and regardless of their abilities”. Broome believed that this new racist way of thinking about the Aborigines was to justify the taking of Aboriginal land (R. Broome, p.7, 18).

Following the Frontier period was the Protection policy of the 1800’s and 100’s. This was where the European Australian Government gathered all of the surviving Aborigines together and placed them onto reserves where they were under the control of the government, who were appointed as ‘protectors’. Either this or they were placed onto missions, which were run by Christian churches. Here the Aborigines were protected from exploitation. After the friction in the Frontier wars, the re-occurrences meant the taking action of protection at altered times. This gave the Aborigines a false sense of security and once again this was just another way of breeding out their culture. The whites considered themselves to be more superior to all the opposing races, particularly the Aborigines.

European domination began and the European Australians or the Australian Government created a policy of segregation in order to handle the Aborigines. The original plan was to create six reserves. The Victorian government established a Central Board for Aborigines. The board was designed to control government expenditures on Aborigines, establish reserves and appoint managers to control and administer the affairs of the Aborigines on the reserves. However, the government ran into a few problems while trying to decide which land was to be given to the Aborigines. In some cases, a group of Aborigines would be placed on a reserve and the European Government would decide that that land was valuable and they wanted it back. Therefore, the Aborigines would be moved onto another reserve. Sometimes being moved four or five times. This kind of mistreated lifestyle was common and extremely unstable.

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From 101 until mid 160’s came the Assimilation policy. This policy was based upon the idea that people of mixed races were really like white people but disadvantaged. It was believed that if they were separated from the Aborigines then they would become assimilated into the white population. The Europeans thought that the Aboriginal characteristics would then breed out. The Assimilation policy came to an end in the beginning of the 160’s but it wasn’t until 167 when Aborigines had been given citizenship and most of the restrictions that had been placed on Aborigines were removed. The granting of citizenship to Aborigines was agreed upon in a referendum that Australian citizens voted on. This referendum also contained the inclusion of Aboriginal Australians into the national census count and the decision that the federal government should be given power to legislate for Aborigines (R. Broome, p.16, 18). This led to the development of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs. The policy of Assimilation officially ended in 17 and was replaced by a new policy of self-determination.


Aborigines are known as the Indigenous people of Australia and they believe that they had inhabited this land from the beginning of time. With modern technology scientists have done research and discovered through testing of fossils that Aborigines have occupied the land of Australia for around 60, 000 years. The Aborigines had their own beliefs about the beginning of time and had many myths and Dreamtime stories in which they praised. For thousands of years this is how the Aborigines had lived their lives. They had everything they needed and were secluded and uninterrupted. (http//…/Aborigcult-edsi)

The policies of protection, segregation and assimilation impacted Indigenous Australians intensely and severely. The attitude and approach of the European Australians also mirrored how they perceived and viewed the Aborigines as uncultured, untamed and uncivilised. The European Australians thought of the Aboriginal race as barbarians. They thought them to be wild, feral, crude and primitive. The conflicts and battles that Aborigines have had to face and hold out against throughout European colonisation and the resulting pervasiveness of the European culture on the Australian nation have been enormous and immense. To overlook or neglect the injustice and removal that took place over the Aboriginal culture as a consequence or outcome of the policies of protection, segregation and assimilation is unfit, inappropriate and unallowable. Nevertheless, to take responsibility and to try to learn from these gone by corrupt mistakes is important and needed. Also, with an accepting and understanding of a gathering of people who have lacked and lost a substantial quantity of their cultural identity and are agonizingly struggling to get it back. As Peter Hansen, an Aborigine confirmed, “I lost my family, my language, my culture, and I’m still isolated today” (P. Shenon, 15).

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