By Colin Tatz
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Additional resources for Aboriginal Suicide Is Different: A Portrait of Life and Self-Destruction
It is as if Aborigines, like new immigrants, have ‘just arrived’; and, to share in the ‘just’ and ‘equal’ society, they must compete on equal terms. The Aboriginal question is thus merged into a ‘multicultural society’, one in which Aborigines are no different from recent immigrants. ) Past violations are disregarded, thereby absolving anyone from atonement or compensation. On election, Howard began a systematic campaign against the ‘black armband’ interpretation of Australian history. Priority, he said, should be given to health, literacy and other practical programs.
Policy slogans disappear soon after they are born. Little time is given to their implementation before another new (and temporary) broom sweeps in, producing yet more confusion. Since the discredited assimilationist philosophy was meant to end in the mid-1960s, there has been a series of terms: self-determination, self-management, Aboriginalisation, land rights (as a mantra covering all things), and now, reconciliation. All have had their share of problems — problems of universal understanding, acceptance of the values which underpin them, communication of these ideas and their practical significance to the people they are intended to advance, and in the training and education of staff who implement them.
Geographic location would see to it that no one could get in, or out. Government-run settlements and Christian-run missions were established in inaccessible places to protect the people from their predators; to encourage, sometime to coerce, Aborigines away from the ‘centres of evil’; to allow for the Christianising and civilising process in private and away from temptations; to enable better ministration to a doomed, remnant people. Catherine deMayo has explained why ‘mission’ Aborigines came to be where many still are (see Tatz 1995, 36).
Aboriginal Suicide Is Different: A Portrait of Life and Self-Destruction by Colin Tatz