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Australian indigenous group or populations are the initial inhabitants of the continent of Australia and the neighboring islands. This population migrated from India through the Southern route approximately 50,000 years ago and arrived in the Australian continent about 45,000 years ago. Notably, the Australian indigenous population has a significant and huge diversity since there are different indigenous communities and societies in the country. Each of these communities and societies has its own distinct mixture of customs, cultures, and languages. The difference of the Australian indigenous people is also evident in the fact that they are currently divided into local communities. Most of this population or group lives in the South-east and are mainly based along the Murray River.
Current State of Australian Indigenous People:
Many of the existing Australian indigenous people have maintained a strong link with language, culture, and their traditional lands. Actually, 70% of these people recognize their conventional country as 21% speak an indigenous language. This is regardless of the fact that many languages have been lost over time while more schools have started various programs to promote the revival of local languages ("About Indigenous Australia," 2007). In the past few years, there have been numerous attempts to recognize indigenous native title rights with an increase of 3% of such attempts in 2006. Furthermore, there are large numbers of Australian organizations and services that are controlled by the indigenous people.
Currently, the indigenous people account for 2% of the Australian population. The proportion and number of these people in comparison to the rest of the Australian population has been increasingly in the recent past. Actually, this group also has a young population as an estimated 70% of the population are people aged 25 years and below. New South Wales and Queens are the regions that contain a huge portion of this population with 29% and 25% respectively. On the contrary, the Northern Territory and Western Australia have the lowest percentage of the Australian indigenous people. While these regions have the smallest number of the population, there are large numbers of small indigenous communities. In increasingly remote areas, there many indigenous communities in which English is considered as the second or third language.
Issues facing Australian Indigenous Population:
While they are the original inhabitants of the Australian continent, the indigenous people have undergone numerous issues in their history. Currently, the Australian indigenous population is the most disadvantaged group of people in the country. Based on the statistics of the major indicators, the population is worse off than other Australians in issues of education, health, employment, and housing. The main reason associated with the gap between the indigenous and non-indigenous Australians is that the indigenous people tend to live remote communities, which have some major forms of disadvantage such as health. Moreover, statistics indicate that migration to cities by these people does little to lessen the disadvantage they experience. Generally, the non-indigenous people in urban areas are usually better off than the indigenous people who are over-represented in the poorest parts of town and suburbs.
Some of the major issues relevant to individuals from this population or ways in which the Australian indigenous people are disadvantaged include & #8230;
This is the major issue facing many indigenous people living in Australia since a huge portion of the population lives in remote areas. The remoteness has in turn created various challenges and disadvantages to these people to an extent that it restricts their access to necessary and important services like health. Moreover, remoteness leads to less employment opportunities that contribute to high unemployment rate among the group ("Challenges Facing the Indigenous Community Today," n.d.).
The other unfortunate challenges that still face the community today are the negative social attitudes that remain common. While several significant initiatives have been taken to promote understanding among the non-indigenous people regarding the history of this population, indigenous people are still largely affected with negative social attitudes from the other Australians. This is despite of the fact that reconciliation has become a major characteristic in building better understanding of the culture of indigenous people and developing strong relationships within the entire community.
Education and Employment:
Education has been singled out as one of the major concerns that need to be tackled among the indigenous population since 1967. While there have significant improvements in indigenous education, these people still have the lowest education statistics than other groups in Australia. In the modern society, the main indigenous education concerns are related to high rates of absences and low rates of retention. These concerns are further complicated by the negative perspectives from older indigenous people about European education because of their own experiences in the past.
The negative perspective towards the existing educational system has contributed to high unemployment rates among the indigenous people. The high unemployment rate is also fueled by the fact that a huge portion of the population lives in remote areas where there are few vacant positions. Even though the Australian government has funded and supported indigenous employment initiatives, there is still more to accomplish in relation to indigenous employment. This is primarily because unemployment has become a situation that has been constantly passed through the indigenous generations.
Health has become a major issue among indigenous Australians because these people are not as healthy as other Australians despite of recent improvements ("Summary of Australian Indigenous Health," 2012). Researches on the health of the Australian population tend to indicate that indigenous population has the worst health status and high mortality rates in the country.
While many indigenous people have similar access to healthcare like the rest of the population, they still have the highest rates of poor health. The major reasons attributed to the poor health status of this population include the prevalent negative social attitudes, remoteness, and lack of trust towards the medical sector or industry. To address the underlying health issues, there is need for more health advancement initiatives, better identification of health problems before they become severe, and increased provision of healthcare services to this population. The government needs to identify issues and help the population to achieve improved health.
Australian Indigenous People and the Criminal Justice System:
Since the British colonization of Australia, there have been five major phases of government policy regarding the indigenous people and other aborigines. These distinct governmental phases include annihilation, protection, assimilation, integration and advancement, and self-management. Annihilation is generally based on the concept that that this population would die out as a race while protection involves taking the indigenous children away from their parents and placing them in custody of white families or mission families. The assimilation face was pursued until mid-1960's on the basis that the culture of this people would not survive and the assumption that they should integrate into an Australian lifestyle. On the contrary, integration and advancement was a phase characterized by various legislation such as land rights and anti-discrimination legislation. The final phase, which is the current one, is self-management, which is basically the existing government policy (Andrews & Eames, 1994).
In relation to the administration of justice and legal issues to the Australian indigenous people, the population's legal status was mainly complicated by the fact that every state had its own legislation until 1967. As a result, these people have been subjected to a long period of discrimination because of the significant difference in the degree of control that state laws exercised over them. Some of the major differences in these laws included varied definitions of aborigines, differing minimum wage rates, and the enforced limitations on liquor.
The high imprisonment rate of the indigenous population is associated with the inappropriate way with which the law treats the minor crime of public drunkenness. Actually, more than one-third of incarcerated indigenous people are in Australian jails because of being intoxicated in a public place. This has contributed to concerns and recent calls by the Royal Commission for the elimination of the crime of public drunkenness and the establishment of sobering-up centers that serve as alternatives to jails, particularly for these people.
In the past few years, many States have enacted anti-discrimination policies that focus on protecting the disadvantaged groups, especially the indigenous people and other Aborigines. These legislations mainly focus on protecting this population from unfair treatment in housing, provision of services and facilities, and employment. Consequently, the legislations are enforced to also deal with or address the negative social attitudes towards the indigenous people from the non-indigenous Australians. Due to the enactment of these laws, the legal status of the Aboriginal population has improved even though discrimination is still prevalent in the actual operations of the legal system and other people's attitudes.
One of the major concerns and problems brought by the remaining discrimination are police attitudes and behaviors towards the indigenous population. According to the findings of the Royal Commission, police tend to use racist language, cultural insensitivity, and rough treatment in their relations with these people. These attitudes and behaviors have played a significant…[continue]
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