Good news, but the aborigines are gradually vanishing
Australian aborigines will be granted property rights to a large section of a dester, the area of which is about 130 thousand kilometers. This territory makes up almost two percent of Australia. It is the largest territory ever given back to the native population after 50 years of expulsion.
A spokeswoman for the government of Western Australia said that the Martu people, who have a two-thousand-strong population, will become the official owners of this land. This is going to happen this week, after the signing of the adequate document.
Aborigines reportedly managed to prove that they were the historic owners of that land. The people were expelled from the territory in the 1950s, when Great Britain wanted to create a testing ground for its intercontinental missiles. The Martu managed to return back to their homeland only 30 years later.
The Martu people lead a traditional mode of life. They hunt for kangaroos and turkeys. They believe that the return to their homeland is a very important step from the point of view of their religion and rituals. However, the Martu will not be given control over the mineral resources or national parks on the territory. Pursuant to previously passed laws, the property rights on national parks, pastures, mineral resources can not be handed over to aborigines, even if the lands are returned to them.
The first settlers migrated to Australia from the southeast of Asia about 60 thousand years ago. Australia used to be connected with the Asian mainland due to a reduction of the water level in the ocean. It is believed that there were no less than 250 aborigine languages in Australia by 1788 – the time when the first English settlement appeared there.
There were about 1.2 million aborigines living in Australia at the end of the 18th century. At the end of the 19th century, some aborigines became a source of cheap labor for the ranches of white people. Their enslavement was approved by the laws of the time. The government decided to take the aborigines’ children away and put them in special shelters in order to raise them in compliance with European traditions. The UN harshly criticized that practice. The Australian government was even accused of the genocide of the local population.
The Aborigines’ situation started getting better from the second half of the 20th century. Restrictions for them were withdrawn, and aborigines were equalized with other Australians. There was a law passed in Australia last year, pursuant to which adult aborigines are entitled to participate in elections. It was very difficult to pass that law. Aborigines make up only 30% of the whole of Australia’s whole. Their votes will be a very great attraction to politicians.
Slowly but surely, the situation for the native Australian is improving. However, when they get everything that the European people of Australia took away from them, aborigines will simply vanish.
Dmitry Chirkin PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov