Title: Aboriginal Peoples’ Heritage Essay Example

  • Category:
    History
  • Document type:
    Essay
  • Level:
    Undergraduate
  • Page:
    3
  • Words:
    1846

Title: Aboriginal Peoples’ Heritage

Introduction

The heritage of the Aboriginal people as well as past knowledge is very significant to Australia as a nation. The Aboriginal heritage forms an important part of the culture of Australia as a nation. It contributes to national identity and forms part of the history of formation of the Australian nation. The indigenous culture is the oldest culture in Australia even prior to the coming of European settlers in 1788 (Stefano, Davis & Corsane, 2012). Indigenous tourism sells Australia as a tourist destination to the world. Environment conservation has been attained through preservation of Aboriginal sites as attraction to tourist. The significance of Aboriginal heritage to the understanding and appreciation of Australian history and heritage cannot be overemphasized. This essay discusses the importance of Aboriginal peoples’ heritage to Australia and the aboriginal people themselves.

Discussion

The original inhabitants of Australia are the Aboriginal people and form an essential part of the history of the country. The culture of Aboriginal Australians is one of the oldest cultures on the Earth and it is complex, rich and enduring. The heritage of indigenous people in Australia has to be protected. Aboriginal heritage is an important portion of Australian heritage. Cultures in Australia make up the general way of life of Australians providing a wide range of religions, foods, businesses and races in one nation (Mansell, 2013). Nevertheless, Australia has an essential heritage contributed by the indigenous people and it is the core to multicultural society of learning about the country’s history beginning with understanding and recognizing the original Australians. The referendum decision in 1967 made it possible for Indigenous people to re-establish their traditional lifestyles but having many changes. Reserves are run by indigenous people and for indigenous people (Clarke, 2008). Many Aboriginal people have been partly or wholly dispossessed by their traditional lands through the process f economic development and colonization of Australia.

Australia has greatly changed since the first arrival of European in 1788 and indigenous people have had their culture interfered with over time. These changes have made it impossible for indigenous people in Australia to maintain their original traditional lifestyles.

The Aboriginal culture is diverse and complex. The Australian indigenous cultures are the oldest living cultural history in the entire world and they can be traced more than 50,000 years ago (Armitage, 2011). The Aboriginal cultures have been able to survive for a quite a long time due to their capacity to change and adapt over time. Cultural heritage is the sum of ways of living built by a community of human beings and passed from one generation to another. The cultural heritage of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people is unique and contribute to cultural heritage of Australia. Protection and recognition of cultural rights are crucial to enjoying of rights of an individual and social justice achievement. The indigenous people heritage is unique and a treasure to the treasure of Australian culture and identity (Laurajane, 2004). Being the first people in Australia, cultural of Aboriginal people is important to the nation’s distinctive character. It is one of the foundations of the collective identities of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people as distinct communities.

The beliefs and knowledge of Aboriginal as well as Torres Strait Islander people are crucial to their cultures and identities. They provide resources of international and national importance. Aboriginal sites are a significant part of the heritage of the entire community. There is immense scientific, cultural, historic and education interest in the Aboriginal heritage. Aboriginal heritage sites offer Aboriginal people with an important connection to their past and culture. The sites are fragile and can easily be exposed to damage (De Paoli, 1999). Their destruction can lead to loss of information forever on their environmental and cultural changes. In many instances, information concerning the past occupation of Australia can only be traced through the analysis of archaeological sites. Aboriginal heritage sites can be exposed to destruction from natural processes like erosion or as a result of human action like development or tourists’ regular visitations. There is need for the sites to be protected (Disko, 2012). Each year tourists in their thousands come to the Western region of Australia from across the country, State, and globe with the urge to experience the Aboriginal history. Therefore the Aboriginal culture makes Australia one of the popular tourist destinations in the world. In order to sustain this important contribution of Aboriginal heritage to the economy Australia, there is need to ensure protection and preservation of Aboriginal culture and heritage.

Land is highly valued for the Aboriginal people wellbeing. Land is an entire environment that sustains as well as sustained by culture and people. For indigenous communities, land is the center of all spirituality and this relationship is core to issues that are significant to indigenous people presently (Altman, 2012). The indigenous knowledge about land is connected to their excellent tracking skills founded on their gather and hunter life. These skills include ability to locate and identify edible plants, track down animals, to find sources of fish and water. Torres Strait Islanders and Aboriginal people identify themselves using their land areas, their stories and languages, and their relationship with others. Cultural heritage is carried on from one generation to another. Sacred sites knowledge is learned via a process of initiation as well as gaining an understanding of the Aboriginal law (Cleere, 2012). The most well known sacred site of Aboriginal people in Australia is Uluru. Aboriginal sites are a significant part of the cultural heritage of Australia, and many have been registered under the National Estate. The Aboriginal people draw a direct link to their traditional culture from these sites.

Aboriginal people have managed to remain connected to their traditional life and land in many ways. Apart from maintaining traditional beliefs and practices there is also preservation actions, tourism, government engagement and the application of symbols that maintain strong connections. The preservation of Aboriginal heritage is important to the overall heritage of Australia and its identity (Kalay, Kvan, Affleck, 2007). The Aboriginal culture is an important part of the history of Australia. Culture and language are closely connected to many Aboriginal people. Sustaining languages’ knowledge offers an assurance of identity. The struggle to foster and record Aboriginal people languages has to receive continuous support. Incorporating programs concerning Aboriginal culture in school curricula is very important step towards the process of reconciliation and the protection and promotion of indigenous people’s rights (Hunt, 2010). Bilingual education programs can be used in school to promote Aboriginal culture. The reconciliation process depends on Australians respecting Aboriginal Heritage and culture, fostering and appreciating the diverse and rich identities of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people and recognizing the contribution of their heritage to the character of the Australia as a nation.

Tourism ventures have been applied in maintaining indigenous people connection with their heritage and land. It also brings about appreciation and awareness within people from other cultures around the world. The Aboriginal heritage is important for preservation of the spiritual, spiritual and mythological links between the indigenous communities and their ancestors. Aboriginal tourism has emerged as an important industry. A diversity of experiences and tours which promote Aboriginal lifestyle and culture are accessible to travelers in many parts of Australia (Burke, 2012). The experiences vary from dance performances; purchasing artifacts of Aboriginal people and a chance to stay in the Aboriginal land in order get the experience of Aboriginal people. There has been increased interest in Aboriginal culture from older Australians and visitors from overseas (Everett, 2004). Tourism is viewed by the Aboriginal people as an important and practical way of providing an economic base to make sure communities excel and their heritage is supported.

The management of national parks acknowledges the intrinsic relation that Aboriginal people possess with their country. The land is not interfered with by European settlement while land areas have remained not suitable or relatively inaccessible for European agricultural practices, and consequently have been left relatively intact (Brockwell, O’Connor &
Byrne, 2013). Wildlife service programs and national parks are run in integration with traditional owners and Aboriginal communities to make sure the involvement of Indigenous people in state and national parks is seen as a way of helping to contribute to respect, reconciliation, recognition as well as cultural awareness (Kirby, 2011). Aboriginal people cannot hunt certain animals like Kangaroo hence making them secure in their natural habitats. The Aboriginal cross-cultural priority offers opportunities for scholars to deepen their knowledge of Australia through the engagement of the world’s oldest continuous living cultures. This understanding and knowledge of Aboriginal culture will enrich the ability of engaging positively in the development of Australia.

Conclusion

The Aboriginal peoples’ heritage forms an important history of Australia as a nation and offers a strong and diverse contribution to the culture of the nation. Preservation of Aboriginal sacred sites is important not only to the nation but also to the indigenous people and their livelihood. Contribution of Aboriginal heritage to education, tourism, and culture diversity is significant for the people of Australia. Reconciliation and recognition of indigenous heritage will play an important part in protecting and promoting Aboriginal heritage.

References

Altman, J., 2012, People on Country as alternate development. In: People on Country Vital Landscapes Indigenous Futures, Altman J. and Kerins S. (Eds), pp.1-26.TheFederation Press, Sydney.

Armitage, A., 2011, Comparing the Policy of Aboriginal Assimilation: Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, UBC Press, Melbourne.

Brockwell, S.,
O’Connor, S., &
Byrne, D., 2013, Transcending the Culture–Nature Divide in Cultural Heritage (Terra Australis 36): Views from the Asia–Pacific region, ANU E Press.

Burke, T. (2012). Australia’s World Heritage — Keeping the Outstanding Exceptional, Keynote Address at the World Heritage Symposium in Cairns 9 August 2012, Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.

Clarke, P.A., 2008, Aboriginal Plant Collectors: Botanists and Australian Aboriginal People in the Nineteenth Century, Rosenberg Pub, Sydney.

Cleere, H., 2012, Archaeological Heritage Management in the Modern World, Routledge, New Jersey.

Everett, J., 2004, Respecting Cultures: Working with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Community and Aboriginal Artists, Arts Tasmania.

De Paoli, L. 1999, Beyond Tokenism: Aboriginal Involvement in Archaeological resource Managements in British Columbia, MA thesis, University of British Columbia.

Disko, S. (2012). World Heritage sites and indigenous communities: the importance of adopting a human rights-based approach, In: Community Development through World Heritage. Albert M., Richen M., Jose Vinals M., Witcomb A. (Eds). Pp.16-25.United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Paris.

Hunt, J. 2010. ‘Looking after Country in New South Wales: Two case studies of socioeconomic benefits for Aboriginal people’, CAEPR Working Paper No. 75, CAEPR, ANU, Canberra.

Kalay, Y., Kvan, T., Affleck, J., 2007, New Heritage: New Media and Cultural Heritage, Routledge, New York.

Kirby, M., 2011, Getting to yes in Australia, Law Council of Australia, Old Parliament House, Canberra.

Laurajane, S., 2004, Archaeological Theory and the Politics of Cultural Heritage, Routledge, New York.

Mansell, M., 2013, A doomed exercise: why the proposed recognition of indigenous peoples in Australia constitution will fail, Australian Council.

Stefano, M.L., Davis, P., & Corsane, G., 2012, Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage, Boydell Press.