Australian Aboriginal Apology

The new PM of Australia Kevin Rudd (Liberal Party) gave a major speech/apology yesterday to the country’s aboriginal population.  (Story here NyTimes).

For background on the history of European and Aboriginal contact in Australia, wiki here. 

Government policy up until only 1970s (!!!) was to forcibly remove aboriginal children from their communities of origin and try to make them culturally white.  Similar to residential schools in Canada.

Guns, Germs, and Steel as Jared Diamond has said.  The Germs came first exterminating massive numbers of the people.  Then land was stolen, along with natual resources (water for example).  Then a professed program of cultural destruction.  Very sad. 

The question going forward, as the article noted, is how Rudd’s plan to help these populations could be successful–particularly given the possibility it would only reinforce the notion that the whites are superior and the aboriginals need help.  On the other hand, systemically, the history is brutal. 

So far the Liberal Government has resisted calls for monetary compensations, prefering this official apology and programs aimed at up lift.      

Published in: on February 13, 2008 at 9:57 am  Leave a Comment  
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