Aboriginal People: The Kinship System & Clan Membership - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1752 Words
Date:  2023-02-24


Before the coming of the Europeans, Aboriginal people resided mostly in extended families based on kinship. The generated extended families provided all social being aspects and defined various interpersonal relationships network using a behavioral code that made them live relatively in harmony with each other. Moreover, the underlying system of kinship was considered as a philosophy that brought equilibrium in everything (Jolly, 2000). The clan membership of every individual and place in their kinship system was always determined during birth which enacted behavioral codes and obligations to be followed. Physical, linguistic, and cultural boundaries connected the individuals into groups, and the same kinship allowed them to live in peace.

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For the Aboriginals, entire Australia was a vibrant spiritual landscape which belonged to various communities. They believed that the scene was peopled in the form of spirits by their forefathers who came in the Dreaming (Murphy, 2015). The depicted Dreaming was an account of creation referred to as cosmology, as well as analysis of how God's creation was an ordered system referred to as cosmography or a moral system. The generated stories could set out the traditional kinship rules. Additionally, the responsibility and reciprocity principles were primary and the bases of interlocking life spaces where every individual was connected in the group through various obligations and responsibilities that locked them together as one social unit (Murphy, 2015).

Question 2: Indigenous Intellectual Property Rights

According to the Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people, the expressions, forms, and cultural products where protection was sought strictly did not conform to the limited intellectual property provisions laws. A case study that depicted the situation was the sparrow case which was a precedent-setting resolution made by the Canadian supreme court. From the sparrow case, Musqueam took over the Fraser River Delta since an immemorial period (Jolly, 2000). As people of the coast, they depended on river Delta for domestic purposes and fishing to sustain them. Following the settlement of the Europeans in their inhabited lower mainland, they saw that their rights to the land as well as its resources were infringed upon is that the Europeans were non-Aboriginal fishers who were controlling the fishing industry.

The government then restricted the Aboriginals to food fishing and introduced fishing licenses. Despite the enacted rules and restrictions, the Musqueams proceeded to practice their unextinguished and inherent rights to maintain their culture regarding fishing. As time progressed, Ronald Sparrow, a Musqueam band member, was then arrested for fishing with a prohibited longer net (Dudgeon, Wright, Paradies, Garvey, & Walker, 2010). Therefore, according to the sparrow case, the Aboriginals felt that their intellectual rights had been infringed as they valued their practices, innovations and knowledge which gave rise to their expressions and cultural products. Moreover, indigenous knowledge was always crucial to the interest and rights of the indigenous people in many sacred sites, ecosystem and land management, biological diversity, arts, medicinal substances, to mention but a few (Thrift & Hayman, 2007).

Question 3: United Nations

According to the treaties and declarations of the United Nations, the type of protection for indigenous Australians include indigenous people have a full enjoyment right as an individual or as a group of all fundamental freedoms and human rights. Also, they are equal and free to every person and have the right not to be discriminated regarding their indigenous identity or origin. They also have the right to strengthen and maintain their distinct cultural, social, economic, legal, and political institutions while retaining their participation rights fully and willingly in the cultural, social, economic and political life of the state (Murphy, 2015).

Indigenous people also have a right to live in security, peace, and freedom as marked individuals and should not be subjected to any genocide act or any violence act such as forcibly removing them or their children from their territories or lands. Additionally, they have the right to revitalize and practice their cultural customs and traditions such as developing, protecting and maintaining the past, present and future manifestations of their cultures. The depicted rights and protections are important for creating positive results as the indigenous people will always feel like part of the state despite their origin. They will also strive to maintain peace, love and unity in the nation while preserving their cultural traditions by not interfering with other people or property not meant for them (Dudgeon et al., 2010).

Question 4: Australian Policies

The type of policies that have worked against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are political and health care policies. For instance, in New South Wales, an unborn Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child whose parents engage in high alcohol or drug intake, have low education and income is always born in an environment affected at the macrosocial level by the political, discriminatory, cultural, and historical economy (Marmot, 2011). Many inequality cases are showcased, which lead to increased risky behaviors, such as lack of exercise, unhealthy eating, drinking, and smoking. The inequalities experienced by the indigenous people are always influenced by their economic and social circumstances which reflect their lifestyle choices (Luke, Nakata, Singh, & Smith, 1993). Moreover, within the Australian Queensland societies, indigenous people are subjected to unequal distribution of income, wealth, power and status, which affect their life opportunities.

The policy decisions for the indigenous people in Australia made by territory, state, and national governments, institutions, and churches have always had dire impacts on the health and well-being of the indigenous people. In most cases, governments fail to take holistic views to address the indigenous people's health determinants (Luke et al., 1993).

Question 5: Aboriginal Day of Mourning

The Aboriginal mourning day was a protest conducted by the Aboriginal Australians on 26th January 1938 which was also the 150th anniversary of the British Australian colonization. It was necessary regarding the Australian history of activism and the call for citizenship as it marked the end of 150 years of degradation and misery that was imposed on the Aboriginals or native inhabitants by the white Australian invaders (Jolly, 2000). Also, the Aboriginal day of mourning reminded the indigenous people of January 1936 when more than 400 Torres Strait Islander maritime employees went on strike. They were protesting the unfair labor conditions and harsh treatment which they faced and were seeking the right to control their affairs and wages. The strike went for about four months which then forced the government of Queensland to make changes such as removing the government supervisors from the Australian islands and forming an island advisory council (Dudgeon et al., 2010).

Question 6: Stereotyping and Misrepresentation of the Indigenous People

In the media and ordinary Australian society, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been misrepresented and stereotyped such that issues concerning them are always drowned out by the non-indigenous voices representing them as burdens or problems to the society (Thrift & Hayman, 2007). In most cases, the media directs its stories to the white audiences, and anything concerning land rights or welfare is always tinged with some sense of conflict between the indigenous and non-indigenous. In advertisements and documentaries, the indigenous people are portrayed positively, yet when they socialize with contemporary society; they are depicted as threatening (Marmot, 2011).

According to the Australian mass media reviews, the criminal offenders' race is always mentioned more when the criminals are Aboriginal. The effects of the view have caused the pathologizing of Indigenous Australians as they feel unwanted and as a burden to society. Moreover, when the indigenous people seek help in health institutions, the possess diverse views of what affects them as opposed to the provider, which in turn leads to lack of a certain shared difficulty or problem definition between the provider and the indigenous person (Shnukal, 2001). The action, in turn, leads to increased misaligned treatments approaches because of how the public views them.

Question 7: The Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody

The RCIADIC was an appointed royal commission by the Australian government in 1987 October to analyze and report the legal, cultural and social concerns behind the death of the indigenous people. The Royal Commission then examined the deaths of more than 90 indigenous people who died in custody between January 1980 and May 1989. According to their findings, the indigenous people never die at a higher rate as opposed to the non-indigenous people in detention (Marmot, 2011). And, the rate at which the indigenous people are isolated is overwhelmingly different. The reason is that in most cases, the Aboriginal people are always over-represented in all custody forms and are mistreated by the non-indigenous people.

However, in as much as the Royal Commission tried to make recommendations to change how the Aboriginal people were treated, nothing has improved as the government and media fail to follow the recommendations because of how they view the Aboriginal people (Shnukal, 2001). For example, every territory and state in Australia claimed that the imprisonment principle had been implemented. However, no state applied the policy. Also, an arrested indigenous person still has to run the gauntlet of police custody first before being placed in custodial transport and sent to prison (Thrift & Hayman, 2007).

Question 8: Mabo

The decision of Mabo was named after Eddie "Koiki" Mabo who was a Torres Strait Islander who led the fight to alter the laws of the land to recognize the traditional ownership and indigenous connection of land in Australia. For ten years, he worked on the Mabo case but died before he could find the decision of the high court on his legal battle (Dudgeon et al., 2010). The Mabo decision was vital as before the British settled in Australia in 1788; the Aboriginal people had occupied the land for more than 40,000 years. When they arrived, they declared the indigenous land Terra nullius are displacing the owners. The Mabo case challenged the British legal system in two ways (McNiven, 2017). First, the indigenous people never knew to comprehend the land ownership idea before the arrival of the colonizers. Second, sovereignty had delivered ownership of the entire land in the new crown colony, abolishing all the previously existed rights (McNiven, 2017).

Question 9: Reconciliation

Reconciliation is about respect and unity between the indigenous and non-indigenous Australians as well as respect for the indigenous heritage, valuing equity and justice for all Australians. According to the national level of historical reconciliation, the final Royal Commission recommendation was a final reconciliation procedure between the indigenous and other Australians (Shnukal, 2001). The council for Aboriginal Reconciliation was created in 1991 to consult and raise public awareness on a reconciliation document in a ten-year legislation period. On June 25th 2015, Ken Wyatt, who is a liberal member of parliament, tabled a report towards an indigenous recognition referendum in the constitution (McNiven, 2017).


Dudgeon, P., Wright, M., Paradies, Y., Garvey,...

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Aboriginal People: The Kinship System & Clan Membership - Essay Sample. (2023, Feb 24). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/aboriginal-people-the-kinship-system-clan-membership-essay-sample

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