Australia: land and nation

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  • Publié le : 27 novembre 2010
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Australia has always being seen as a multicultural white nation at the zenith of the British imperialism which proved the success of the colonization.
Even if Australia became more tolerant and multicultural, the myth of a nation of Bushmen where Aboriginals were invisible still persisted during the 20th century.
First of all, to understand that the national identity refers to the identity ofBritain (by assimilation process), we have to conceptualize the meaning of nationalism as a desire for power.
Thus, we can define the Australian national identity like a feeling of being associated with a national group, which defined by common heritage based on the race, territory, language and history.
By the way, in this essay, I will explore the extent to which different stories and visionsof Australia are unsettled by counter-stories, in other words, how the first stories have been denied by more recent events.
Defining the Australian complexity, I will consider the Australian sense of what they are, what they stand for, where they have come from and where they are going.
Still nowadays recent debates in Australia are established about the notion of identity and belonging, butthe former Australian settler colony is often excluded from post-colonial debates.
Furthermore, ideas about what or who constitutes a settler nation receive little attention outside the societies directly implicated in that term; but problematic issues still remain in the mentalities, like Aboriginal treatment and immigration policies constitute a fair society?
In a first part, I’m going toremind a brief historical European settlement, the British perception of their settlement and analyze the consequences on Aboriginal peoples; then in the second part, I will approach the Aboriginal perceptions of the land and how they fight to be recognize as citizens; and finally I will theorized and show how the first part has an incidence on the second.

During the European exploration in the18th century, British colonizers took the land as their own because they didn’t find any recognisable political structures and took advantage of Aboriginals’ weakness. As a matter of fact, they progressively pushed away the Aboriginal peoples out of their land and quickly the relation between both became hostile while Aborigines realized that their land and their resources upon which theydepended, as well as their life, were disrupted by the presence of the colonizers.
As a result, the colonization led to the end of Aboriginal civilization, introduced many changes, diseases, persecutions; and Aboriginal people were eradicated of Australia’s history because of the progress and the modernity the British settlers brought.
In that way, in declaring the land as a sovereign territory of theEnglish monarch, the British colonizers didn’t recognize that Indigenous people occupied the continent.
The British’s visions of the first settlement seemed peaceful and without any serious consequences, “Historians have sized on the enormous significance attached to the Cook figure in the White Australian historical dogma of courageous exploration and peaceful settlement and inverting theimage, have made him the central figure in their very different account of invasion and repression” . This quotation is a corruption of the truth because Aboriginals were disturbed and impeded by the British presence, as well as they suffered the severe government punishment when they tried to defend their law against white transgression. They were dominated by white supremacy and were imposed theWhite law (cf proclamation of Governor Arthur to the Aborigines).
British quickly developed a concept of land as an individually possession because they considered the land largely inhabited and didn’t recognize the principle of Terra Nullius (cf Port Jackson painting which showed the legal occupancy of the British colony and the ignorance of the Terra Nullius).
They rapidly defined the social...