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Member since: Wed Jan 24, 2018, 02:24 PM
Number of posts: 791

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The Killing Times: the massacres of Aboriginal people Australia must confront


The truth of Australia’s history has long been hiding in plain sight.

The stories of “the killing times” are the ones we have heard in secret, or told in hushed tones. They are not the stories that appear in our history books yet they refuse to go away.

The colonial journalist and barrister Richard Windeyer called it “the whispering in the bottom of our hearts”. The anthropologist William Stanner described a national “cult of forgetfulness”. A 1927 royal commission lamented our “conspiracy of silence”.

But calls are growing for a national truth-telling process. Such wishes are expressed in the Uluru statement from the heart. Reconciliation Australia’s 2019 barometer of attitudes to Indigenous peoples found that 80% of people consider truth telling important. Almost 70% of Australians accept that Aboriginal people were subject to mass killings, incarceration and forced removal from land, and their movement was restricted.

There is also an interactive map which shows the locations of some of the conflicts. It is disturbing but something as the headline states, we must confront.

And on a personal level it is entirely fair to say that this history has been hidden from most Australians, whether that is willfully or just buried out of shame or forgotten. Schools never taught such history beyond a cursory glance and whilst it is slightly better today the level of detail is low.
And lets be honest, if you have colonial ancestry in Australia just how much do you really know what happened back then. I know I have distant settler relatives, I have looked into it somewhat but little info is available from where I am and will likely have to pay a proper historian/genealogist to really get into more detail.

I wish ancestry was a little bit easier to navigate because I know I have found some saved letters stating a few interesting tidbits.
With that said I know we underestimate the hurt and suffering the Aboriginal people still feel today and we owe them soooo much more than we have shown. Maybe a clearer understanding of the past is at the very least a step in the right direction because if government won't act then it is up to the people to show some humanity and given the Australia Day controversy we seem a long way off of reconciliation.
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