Outdoor and Environmental Studies Unit Three 3.1.2 Indigenous Relationships With Natural Environments

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  • Outdoor and Environmental Studies Unit Three 3.1.2 Indigenous Relationships With Natural Environments
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  • INDIGENOUS RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE ENVIRONMENT Beliefs Perceptions (what we think) Impacts/practices (the effects) Interactions (what we do)
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  • Relationships in and with outdoor environments Relationships in and with Outdoor Environments Perceptions (what we think) Interactions (what we do) Impacts/ practices (The effects)
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  • BELIEFS (the dreamtime) The world was created in the dreamtime by spirit ancestors. Equivalent to the bible. Creation stories explain natural features, animals and plants When they died they returned to the earth or became a natural feature/plant/animal http://www.youtube.com/watc h?v=Jcl2inXgFzA
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  • PERCEPTIONS They believed that the land owned them, rather than the other way around. They had a responsibility to look after the land/plants/animals (custodians/Stewardship) The land would provide for them if looked after http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qok6YM3E1z8
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  • Custodians Because the "Stories of the Dreaming" have been handed down through the generations, they are not 'owned' by individuals. They belong to a group or nation, and the storytellers of that nation are carrying out an obligation to pass the stories along. The Elders of a nation might appoint a particularly skilful and knowledgeable storyteller as 'custodian' of the stories of that people. With the discouragement and 'unofficial' banning of the telling of traditional stories, which continued well into the twentieth century, many stories were 'lost'. The custodians passed away without being able to hand the stories on. This was particularly so in the south-east region of Australia.
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  • Storytelling, while explaining the past, helps young Indigenous Australians maintain dignity and self-respect in the present. Present-day custodians of stories play a vital role in Indigenous communities.
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  • Practices/Management Semi nomadic lifestyle Seasonal movements Few permanent settlements Hunting and gathering Firestick farming Story places/sacred sites Totems Small populations
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  • Impacts of Indigenous Cultures Possible extinction of mega fauna Creation of grasslands/open woodlands Introduction of dingo impact on mainland Selection of eucalypts over rainforest plants Relatively little impact over 50,000 years compared to 200 years of European settlement
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  • Extinction of mega fauna It is a contentious issue as to whether human habitation led to the extinction of Australia s mega fauna. The link below is from the University of NSW and give the view that species extinction was more about climate change Mega Fauna Extinction and climate However there is another school of thought that indigenous populations were the route cause, as the link below points out. Mega Fauna and People
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  • Mega fauna Diprotodon and the short faced Kangaroo
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  • Diprotodon Diprotodon optatum, evolved about a million years ago and may have become extinct as recently as 15,000 years ago, has the distinction of being the largest marsupial ever. It was the size of a rhinoceros three metres long, almost two metres high at the shoulder, and weighing as much as two tonnes. It had pillar-like legs and broad footpads, a little like those of an elephant.
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  • Introduction of the Dingo According to Dr Tim Flannery, Director of the South Australian Museum, from about 5,000 years ago, the dingo revolutionised Australian Aboriginal culture and the natural environment. Flannery argues that the arrival of the dingo was closely associated with profound changes in aboriginal language, stone tool technology, food production, population levels and trade patterns. At the same time, these changes in indigenous culture were linked to environmental changes which were, in turn, also associated with the impact of the dingo.
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  • As Flannery states: "Imagine the boost given to a clan that could harvest meat twice as rapidly as its neighbours". The decline in marsupial numbers as a result of the arrival of the dingo, Flannery further argues led to an increased abundance of grasses, which in turn provided the basis for the increased propensity of Aboriginal people to harvest and eat grass seeds. This increased propensity appears to have occurred by about 1000 years ago. This shift in diet may have been associated with a further increase in human population. As Flannery states: "In this dingo-driven revolution we see a profound restructuring of Australia 's ecosystems and human cultures, which involved a further diminution of the role of large herbivores, and an increase in human population fuelled by harvesting newly available plant foods. This was a dramatic departure from what had gone before."
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  • Aboriginal people after colonisation Unfortunately in many parts of the country, aboriginal people where treated worse than feral animals. Farmers and landowners would ride into camps shooting men, women, children and babies for the sport of it. While this was still considered murder, it mostly went unreported. Aboriginal people were often forcibly moved from their land if it was of value to settlers. Children who had mixed blood, were routinely taken from their parents and moved to orphanages across the country (the stolen generations). A lot of people in more populated areas of Australian were put onto reservations and missions
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  • operated by the government and the church. Today aboriginal people make up less than 1% of the population, they survived in larger numbers in more remote country areas. Aboriginal history is unfortunately a very sad one, however in 1967 they were allowed to vote (previous to this they could not vote as they were officially recognised at Fauna native animals). I n 1992 the landmark Mabo case recognized native title of the first time. This case disputed the legal principal of Terra Nullius, by which the British legally occupied Australia. The British Government successfully argued that the aborigines did not have a civilised society, until it was overturned in 1992.
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  • There is very little evidence to back up any of these claims. Gippsland squatter Henry Meyrick wrote in a letter home to his relatives in England in 1846: The blacks are very quiet here now, poor wretches. No wild beast of the forest was ever hunted down with such unsparing perseverance as they are. Men, women and children are shot whenever they can be met with I have protested against it at every station I have been in Gippsland, in the strongest language, but these things are kept very secret as the penalty would certainly be hanging For myself, if I caught a black actually killing my sheep, I would shoot him with as little remorse as I would a wild dog, but no consideration on earth would induce me to ride into a camp and fire on them indiscriminately, as is the custom whenever the smoke is seen. They [the Aborigines] will very shortly be extinct. It is impossible to say how many have been shot, but I am convinced that not less than 450 have been murdered altogether.
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  • Work task 3 Investigate the Indigenous people of Wilsons prom, from a historical perspective to current day.