Aboriginal Australians could be the most ancient group of humans living outside of Africa. One theory suggests they migrated on boats about 70,000 years ago. Aboriginal Australians, considered as Australia’s first people, have lived on the continent for more than 50,000 years. To this date, there are 250 defined language groups distributed across Australia.
Aboriginal Australians are divided into two groups: Aboriginal peoples who are linked to those who already resided Australia when Britain began colonizing the country in 1788, and Torres Strait Islander peoples. They came from residents of the Torres Strait Islands, a group of islands that is a portion of Queensland, Australia.
All Aboriginal Australians are related to groups indigenous to Australia. While the use of the term indigenous is controversial since it can be claimed by people who descend from people who weren’t the original inhabitants of the island, it is the official term. Legally, “Aboriginal Australian” is recognized as “a person of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent who identifies as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and is accepted as such by the community in which he [or she] lives.”
In 2017, genetic research of the genomes of 111 Aboriginal Australians showed that modern Aboriginal Australians are all connected to a common ancestor who was a part of a unique population that surfaced on the island 50,000 years ago. Humans are believed to have periodically migrated from Asia to Northern Australia using archaic boats. A modern theory says that those early migrants left Africa about 70,000 years ago, making the Aboriginal Australians the oldest population of people who are living outside Africa.
In 1788, when British settlers started colonizing Australia, 750,000-1.25 Aboriginal Australians are forecasted to have resided there. Soon, epidemics devastated the indigenous people on the island, and British settlers captured the Aboriginal lands. Although there were a number of Aboriginal Australians who refused to comply, 20,000 indigenous people were estimated to have died in violent dispute on the colony’s boundaries and most were forced by massacres and the poverty of their communities as British settlers assumed their lands.
The Stolen Generations
From 1910 to 1970, government laws of assimilation resulted in between 10 and 33 percent of Aboriginal Australian kids being forced to leave their homes. These “Stolen Generations” were placed in adoptive institution and families and prohibited from speaking their native languages. They’ve been using different names as ordered. Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd released a national apology for the country’s maltreatment toward Aboriginal Australians of the Stolen Generations in 2008. From there, Australia has committed to decreasing social differences between Aboriginal Australians and non-indigenous Australians.
For the first time in 1967, Australians voted that federal laws should also be applicable to Aboriginal Australians. Majority of the Aboriginal Australians did not have voting rights until 1965. The fight persists To this day, three percent of Australia’s population bears the Aboriginal heritage. Aboriginal Australians still fight for their rights to keep their ancient culture and struggle for recognition from the Australian government.
The city of Victoria is currently dedicated to working toward a new treaty with its Aboriginal population that would acknowledge Aboriginal Australians’ rule and benefits. But Australia has never created such a treaty, establishing it as the only country in the British Commonwealth for not having a signed treaty with its First Nations peoples. Abo