Tuesday, 9 November 2010

the Indigenous Gap

Various people in are often going on about the "gap" between Indigenous Australia and the rest of Australia, the latest referendum by the Government is intended to bring this recognition to the constitution.

As a non-indigenous but (depending on the branch you follow) 5th generation Australian I would ask if this "gap" is not in some ways of the Indigenous Communitys own making.

While there is totally no doubt in my mind that through history various Colonial and Post Federation (but still perhaps Colonial in thinking) governments have done much wrong (such as unpaid wages) to the Indigenous Community, it should be pointed out that the rest of the country gets its fair share of being ripped off too.

To me the main source of "gap" seems to be leveled at indicators such as health (mental and physical) and life expectancy. There is little doubt that these indicators do indeed show a large difference between the people who call themselves Aboriginal and those who do not.

As I see it, this would seem to be something which is exactly created by the life choices that Aboriginal people make. The places they choose to live in and the lifestyles they choose to lead.

A case in point was the recent rampaging community that spilled out of Yuendumu over into South Australia. The violence was about payback for killings, something which is variously illegal, condemned and the source of all the strife in the middle east.

It seems that the first death (which started the bloody vengance) was sparked by claims that a fella who died of cancer was in fact killed by another "witch doctor" who cast a spell on him.

yeah, right. Pull the other one, that plays Jingle bells.

At present anyone who applies for a job in Government (local, State or Federal) will know that there is actually positive discrimination towards Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders built into the application process. In other words the system actually stacks against non-indigenous people.

Even Noel Pearson has made statements that recognize the comprehensive failure of the Indigenous community to even properly raise and care for their own.

I would argue that if Aboriginal People joined the modern world, and lived as the rest of us do that this gap would disappear.

I would be very interested to hear from anyone in the community who can clearly make a case to me that there remains any significant gap which is not in the favor of Indigenous peoples that is not contributed to by them.

Time moves on ... I know its hard to change values, and there are certainly many existing values within mainstream society in Australia which need changing. However as I see it we stand to gain more as a society by coming together and working towards a future together than by working on perpetuation of division. I can not see anything in "Indigenous Recognition" which does anything other than perpetuate that division.

Can you?

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