Representations of Indigenous Australians

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Transcript Representations of Indigenous Australians


• a range of historical and contemporary representations of Australian Indigenous culture that could be interpreted as ethnocentric and/or culturally relativistic representations

Culturally relativistic

  Look at the following representations and decide whether they are culturally relativistic (sensitive to and of) Indigenous Australians OR ethnocentric (insensitive to and of) Indigenous Australians. 

Record your responses in the table provided.

The Aboriginal and Torres

Aboriginal Language

40 years of the tent embassy

(The Canberra Times, 27 January 2012) 


Protests erupted because of Tony Abbott’s comments about ‘moving on’ in reference to the 40 th anniversary of the Tent Embassy. The Prime Minister and Tony Abbott were evacuated from a ceremony honouring Emergency Service Workers when fears for their safety emerged.

Aboriginal Embassy, 1972

 Late on Australia Day 1972, three young Aboriginal men erected a beach umbrella on the lawns outside Parliament House in Canberra and put up a sign which read 'Aboriginal Embassy'. Over the following months, supporters of the embassy swelled to 2000. When the police violently dismantled the tents and television film crews captured the violence for the evening news, an outraged public expressed its disgust to the federal government.

…The site became known as the Aboriginal Tent Embassy. It was a powerful symbol...Their embassy was a tent - a well understood image of poverty and impermanence. Their camp attracted unprecedented support from people across the country who recognised their sense of grievance and made their views known to the government.

Advertisement by ‘Youth Connections’ and NSW Australian Indigenous Communities 

Advertisement in a Darwin Newspaper (1930s)  Published in a Darwin newspaper in the 1930s this picture signifies the suffering caused by the inherent racism of the Australian government's Aboriginal assimilation policies. The presents the children are holding were most likely only provided for the sake of the photograph.

The caption reads: A group of tiny half-caste and quadroon children at the Darwin half-caste home. The Minister for the Interior (Mr Perkins) recently appealed to charitable organisations in Melbourne and Sydney to find homes for the children and rescue them from becoming outcasts.

Song Lyrics

  Took the Children Away – Archie Roach (Stolen Generation)  Black and Deadly – The Last Kinection  Treaty – Yothu Yindi (about PM Bob Hawke’s promise of a treaty in 1988)