Coming from 12 years of Education there was only one term that I really learnt the about issues forced upon Indigenous people. In primary school we were taught about the dreamtime and the Indigenous creation stories, which stemmed my interest in this area. As I got older as I assume all of us Australians did we learnt about the ‘marvellous’ Captain Cook, who did ‘no wrong’ and ‘settled’ Australia. Then finally in grade 10 we were taught about the atrocities that occurred against the Indigenous people, focusing on the Myall Creek massacre. This was a real shock to me at the time as I really had no idea that Indigenous people we treated so dreadfully. I have always been extremely interested in Indigenous people but this gave me a newfound reason and passion to learn more about the treatment and discrimination against this nations first people.
I remember hearing in the first seminar that during the 1800s there were ‘experiments’ conducted on the Indigenous people. The most confronting to me was they would bury Indigenous babies alive with just their heads above the surface. The men conducting the experiments would then measure how many kicks it would take to kill the baby or if I remember correctly till the head comes off the body. This sickening act was actually recorded in these men’s notebooks.
I found that a lot of the time whilst studying this subject I would feel aggravated and upset due to the disgusting things that occurred still and still do occur today. There is such a big issue of discrimination towards Indigenous people in this country and Australia is hiding behind it. For me the only way to change this inbuilt attitude of racism towards the Indigenous people that not all but a lot of people possess is education. I am generalising but from my experiences I have found some people acquire the undertone of the idea that ‘we are better than them’ referring to white and Indigenous people. During school we should be taught about our own history, no matter how confronting or how damaging it is to Australia’s perception of itself, the only way to move forward is to educate.
Image: Wet Sand by Zac Bennett-Brook