Aboriginal Society Pre Settlement

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate May 2001

download word file, 6 pages 0.0

Downloaded 6 times

Historians prefer to believe that Aboriginals came to Australia from South East Asia (Broome, 1974:9). It is certain that Aborigines have been here for more than 50,000 years and Broome (1994:10) believes that this may be increased to 120,000 years, either way there is no doubt Australian Aborigines were the original inhabitants of a previously uninhabited continent. Early anthropologists saw Aboriginal religion as the simplest least developed most infantile form of human consciousness (Charlesworth, 1989:1). Aboriginal myths and rites were placed into the category of magic but this was the view of aboriginal society through western eyes, and no connection between Christian gospels and the bewildering beliefs, myths and rites of Aboriginal people could be seen (Charlesworth, 1989:1).

Broome (1994:11) argued that what is known about traditional aboriginal society is somewhat speculative, with most information coming from Europeans who observed Aboriginal society in a process of change, rather than its traditional uninterrupted form.

Broome (1994:15) argued that the lives of Australian aborigines were shaped by their dreamtime stories; these were both an explanation of how the world came to be and were a framework for how people should conduct their behaviour and social relations. Broome (1994:15) believed that the existence of the dreamtime meant that aboriginal people followed tradition above all else. There was definite change in aboriginal society over time, but continuity was valued above change. As a result of this Aboriginal society was stable over long periods of time and Broome (1994:15) argued was rarely disrupted by struggles for wealth and power.

Sharp (1958:7) argued that Aboriginal society lacked the special institutions and organizations that exist for the purpose of government, however one needs to remember that these required institutions and organizations only exist in Western eyes. Hiatt (1987:177) argued that Aboriginal political life was characterized by a...