Anthropology Like the Indigenous Peoples Term Paper

Total Length: 1242 words ( 4 double-spaced pages)

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Initiation ceremonies could last for weeks, involving singing and dancing, story telling, body decorations and ceremonial objects. Some of the stories are open to all the people of the tribe, while others are secret and meant only for the initiates.

During funeral ceremonies, the people of the tribe would often paint themselves white and mourn by cutting themselves. Rituals may involve songs and dances focused upon helping the deceased leave his or her body successfully, and returning to the birth place for late rebirth. The burial occurs in two stages: During the first stage, the deceased is laid on a platform and covered with leaves and branches. After several months, the secondary burial involves collecting the bones, painting them with red ochre, and dispersing them by sometimes carrying them around, or leaving them in a cave shelter.

Introducing Change

Since the arrival of the settlers, many injustices have been perpetrated against the Aboriginal people. Indeed, some political organizations have, until recently, not even recognized the Aboriginal people as people with rights at all. Even today many Aborigines in Australia suffer a myriad forms of injustice and oppression. One of the ways in which to instigate social change in order to handle this is by targeting the youth and integrating the Aboriginal social, political and religious structure in bringing about change.

The Aboriginal youth often grow up in a world that victimizes their parents and themselves. Too often this results in a feeling of powerlessness, which could be manifested in an attempt to connect to their society via gangs or other socially destructive actions. For this reason, authors such as Wanda Wuttunee suggests youth groups as a possible way to combat this phenomenon.

Wuttunee (76) mentions the Aboriginal Youth with Initiative, Inc. (AYWI) as an example of such a group. In addition to connecting with other organizations in order to provide the youth perspective on important issues faced by the Aborigines, this group also empowers the youth by providing education initiatives, community development, and by being involved in issues of justice, policy, and economics.
It is important to involve the Aboriginal youth in the social and political issues of Australia, particularly as this sector of the people have not only be displaced, but also largely ignored in terms of their tremendously beneficial and powerful influence in society. Groups such as the AYWI therefore provide and opportunity to channel this energy into a more socially beneficial paradigm than in crime and gang activities. The AYWI is then also based upon the social and religious structure of Aboriginal tradition. Indeed, the clan system, according to the author (Wuttunee 78) is used to build the structure of the organization.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it could be suggested that not only youth groups, but other Aboriginal organizations be used to empower the Aborigines in Australia. These groups can work collectively in order to instigate targeted social change. This can also be done without the necessity of Aborigines needing to give up the foundations of their culture and heritage. Too often in Australian history has this been the case: in order to build prosperity, it was necessary to integrate into Western society and give up the traditional way of life. Instead, the traditional way of life can be integrated in order to not only strengthen the Aboriginal spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship, but also to bring the knowledge and beauty of this culture to the rest of the world. This could cultivate mutual understanding and respect, and benefit all citizens.

Bibliography

Aboriginal Culture. Religion. http://www.aboriginalculture.com.au/religion.shtml

Wuttunee, Wanda. Living Rhythms: Lessons in Aboriginal Economic Resilience and Vision. McGill-Queens Press, 2004.

Zierott, Nadja. Aboriginal Women's Narratives: Reclaiming Identities. Lit Verlag, 2005......

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