Interaction Between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Cultural Expression in Australia Term Paper

Pages: 9 (2421 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 7  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Anthropology

¶ … interaction between the Indigenous and the Non-Indigenous cultures of Australia. The author explores both populations and their cultures and compares them to each other the author then examines the method by which the cultures interact. There were six sources used to complete this paper.

Around the world the globalization process is blending communities and cultures (Bradfield, 2004). Whether it is knocking down previously imagined cultural walls, or actually dismantling a previous form of government and rebuilding from scratch the process marches forward. For Australians the process of globalizing seems to be at a standstill while moving ahead at the same time (Bradfield, 2004). The non-Indigenous and the Indigenous populations of Australia have spent years living side by side and recently began to interact with each other's cultures, however, they have managed to do this without signing treaties that would clearly define the cultural preference in different areas (Bradfield, 2004).

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For many Australians, the articulation of a distinct Indigenous identity challenges notions of 'one Australia'(Bradfield, 2004). Cultural representations of Aboriginality are acceptable and may even be presented as 'Australian', such as on a Qantas jet, or when we bask in the reflected glory of Indigenous art's international popularity (Bradfield, 2004). However, overtly political claims are more worrying, being viewed not on their own merits but largely in terms of their ability to upset the unity of the state. Arguments for people-to-people negotiations or a treaty relationship are hardly heard because of the degree to which non-Indigenous Australians have psychologically as well as institutionally absorbed Indigenous peoples into the state. It is then conceptually incoherent to 'treat with oneself (Bradfield, 2004)'."

Until 1992 there was very little interaction or commingling of the non-Indigenous and Indigenous cultures as the Non-Indigenous refused to recognize the culture or rights of the Indigenous people in Australia (Bradfield, 2004). In 1992 however, it all changed when the highest court in the land mandated the rights of both populations and limited the land that would be considered "indigenous (Bradfield, 2004)."

Term Paper on Interaction Between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Cultural Expression in Australia Assignment

In 1996 the protection of the non-Indigenous was strengthened through the court systems as well (Bradfield, 2004).

It also raised the possibility of some Indigenous and non-Indigenous rights to land coexisting, Wik did establish a new level of uncertainty in Australia's land law (Bradfield, 2004). But it also created the context for real negotiations to take place between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians at local, regional and national levels (Bradfield, 2004)."

The cultures of both populations have been fighting to maintain their integrity, independence and rights within the same area of the world (Bradfield, 2004). Australia has been wrestling with the cultures and attempting to create a co-habitive atmosphere that could accommodate them both (Bradfield, 2004). In recent history that goal appears to have been achieved and today the cultures interact much more than they ever have before (Bradfield, 2004).


One of the organizations that has been working toward the successful interaction between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous has been the Australian government (Bradfield, 2004). The government has been steadily working to balance the rights and desires of the Indigenous and the non-indigenous people (Bradfield, 2004).

There have been several intensive programs implemented by the government that have been directed at bringing formal equality to the Indigenous people of Australia (Bradfield, 2004).

One of the issues between the indigenous and the Non-Indigenous people is the large disparity in the economic standing of each group (Bradfield, 2004). The Non-Indigenous group in general has a much higher per capita income than those who reside in the Indigenous group of people (Bradfield, 2004).

Australia's denial of a distinctly political rather than cultural Indigenous identity is out of step with both contemporary political philosophy and the reality of other settler states today (Bradfield, 2004)."

Within the integration of the two cultures there is some resentment on the side of each group (Bradfield, 2004). The Non-Indigenous people feel that by the Indigenous people demanding that they retain their rights, that the non-Indigenous group is being lost and are not being given an identity (Bradfield, 2004). The Indigenous group on the other hand believes that their very indigenous history provides them with rights that the non-indigenous should respect and abide by (Bradfield, 2004).

Recent trends such as resistance to Indigenous rights and increased public support for a hard-line approach to asylum seekers led to the suggestion contemporary Australia is 'an unhappy country, neither relaxed nor comfortable except in the immediate sense (Bradfield, 2004)'."

Many experts currently argue that there is room in Australia for both groups and that cultural integration will eventually be the result (Bradfield, 2004).

For one to fully understand the issues between the two cultures of non-indigenous and indigenous peoples in Australia one can liken it to Native Americans or African-Americans and the Americans of European descent in America (Bradfield, 2004). The Indigenous people of Australia have been there a very long time and they resent being told that the newcomers are going to treat them differently and refuse to allow them their customs and traditions (Bradfield, 2004).

There is a general consensus among politicians that the ultimate goal for the two cultures to interact successfully is to provide a constitution that:

equally legitimates Aboriginal rights and the general citizenship rights of all Australians and the institutional framework that creates and supports these rights (Bradfield, 2004)."

One of the cornerstones of the Indigenous population of Australia is its history in Australia. The population dates back 70,000 years (Hindle, 2002). The theory is that at that time a group of people came from Southeast Asia to Australia. A second theory is that there were several migrations from Asia that took a long period of time (Hindle, 2002). Regardless of how it began the fact remains that the indigenous population has been in Australia for many years (Hindle, 2002).

The break down of the indigenous population in Australia is as follows:

The State of New South Wales has the highest population of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, but Indigenous Australians form the greatest percentage of the population in the Northern Territory. At the time of the 2001 Census, the population breakdown in individual states and territories was as follows"

New South Wales


Western Australia

Northern Territory


South Australia



Other territories

They were hunters according to historic records (Hindle, 2002). They ate a diet that varied with the use of about 90 animals and plants each year (Hindle, 2002).

The name "Aborigine" means "from the beginning" or "origin" in Latin. When the British colonised Sydney Cove in 1788, it is thought that between 500,000 and 1,000,000 Aborigines existed in 600-700 communities. Today, according to the 2001 census, there are around 410,000 Indigenous people living in Australia: approximately one in 40 of the population (Hindle, 2002). "

The largest concentrate of Indigenous people in Australia reside in the city of Korris. In Korris there are an estimated 37, 000 Indigenous people (Hindle, 2002).

The Sydney region boasts more than 4,000 Aboriginal rock engravings. Sydney Harbour National Park and Bondi Golf Course are home to a few (Hindle, 2002). Further north, those in the Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park on the Basin Track and Garigal Aboriginal Heritage Walk are superb (Hindle, 2002). "

The Indigenous population has much to offer by way of its own culture. Rock art, paintings and food traditions are among the many cultural identities shared by the Indigenous (Hindle, 2002).

In addition the non-Indigenous population brings its own culture to the mix by way of modern ways, blended traditions from the homelands and current interests in world events (Hindle, 2002).

The non-indigenous people bring with them a history of their own (Stephenson, 2001). Indigenous people reported being shocked by stories told by Non-Indigenous residents of the genocide, war and other facts of their lives and histories (Stephenson, 2001). Fragmented and broken families are something that are still alien in the world of an Aborigine Australian but it is commonplace in the migrant group (Stephenson, 2001).


In recent years there has been an emerging dialogue between the two groups. A number of cultural and intellectual events have been designed for the purpose of bringing the two together and by all accounts have been a successful endeavor (Stephenson, 2001).

It has not been an easy path and members of both groups have often faced persecution and shunning for their attempts to reach out to the other side and form friendships (Stephenson, 2001).

Recent conferences, colloquiums and workshops have also explored the relationships between Indigenous and culturally diverse migrant peoples (Stephenson, 2001). The colloquium Lost in the Whitewash: Aboriginal-Chinese Encounters from Federation to Reconciliation at the Australian National University in 2000 sought to uncover the significant and multifarious but, to date, largely invisible 'human encounters, spiritual exchanges and cultural traffic between indigenous peoples and non-white sojourners and settlers (Stephenson, 2001).' "


In recent history there have been some obstacles that have been faced by the two cultures as they have tried to place their mark… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Interaction Between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Cultural Expression in Australia.  (2006, August 14).  Retrieved February 28, 2021, from

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"Interaction Between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Cultural Expression in Australia."  14 August 2006.  Web.  28 February 2021. <>.

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"Interaction Between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Cultural Expression in Australia."  August 14, 2006.  Accessed February 28, 2021.