Sunday, June 15, 2008

Aboriginal education issues - are boarding schools the answer?

Is sending aboriginal children to boarding school the answer to their education problems?
If their teenage child couldn't spell "cat", most Australian parents would be howling for the blood of politicians, teachers and just about anyone else in striking distance.

But this scandalous illiteracy is exactly what some indigenous communities are supposed to tolerate.

In Tiwi Islands near Darwin, for example, a former school head estimates 80 to 90 per cent of early teenagers are "functionally illiterate – can’t spell cat is the example I use". A current principal laments trying to teach 13-year-olds with reading ages of less than six.

Put it down to any number of things: chronic absenteeism and lack of motivation springing from family dysfunction, violence, substance abuse, sit-down money, too few role models, no jobs, not enough teaching in English, paltry government investment in schools and teachers.

ABC1 Monday night, 8:30pm.

And speaking of the problems in aboriginal communities, currently there's a piece (Part 1) on Message Stick about the aboriginal tent embassy set up on the grounds of Parliament House in Canberra, 1972.

From the transcript:
DENNIS WALKER: Land rights isn't a word, it's a living. It's people. To black people, it's a living. To white people, it's money. And they're gonna kill black people, one way or another, to get that money. That's what land rights means. That means a lot of money and a lot of people... * ..that are getting rich off your blood and guts. How much is that building worth? Millions! Anything I've said here, is it untrue?

CROWD: No! No! You pink bastards! Black power!

NEWSREADER: Public demonstrations in Australia's southern capitals are almost commonplace, but when 200 people marched through the streets of Darwin recently demanding Aboriginal rights, it made some of the more complacent members of the community sit up and take notice.

BOB RANDALL: We are hoping to achieve spiritual recognition of the valuable culture the Aborigines may lose if they accept the European values of materialism. We feel that they too will become selfish, greedy and start robbing each other without realising why. And we believe the importance of the Aborigine people hanging onto the values they have built up through thousands of years of living in this land and through practice, through experience and through truths have gained the spiritual value, which is so high today in the Aboriginal society.

INTERVIEWER: You see the situation here being the same as the situation for blacks in America.

MAN: Yes, because they're both being oppressed by a fascist system, of which we believe that America is the centre and, you know, Australia is more or less a puppet to the American fascist regime.

(* There appears to be quite a bit of this statement missing. It was making me quite cranky listening to the drivel about how wealthy Australia is and how it can afford to support aborigines and give them what they want... That's how we've all got into the current disastrous situation.)

Which would all be hysterically funny if it wasn't so tragic. It's not about money. It's a spiritual thing. White people are going to kill aboriginal people... er, no. Aboriginal people through neglect and sitting down and doing nothing except pissing and moaning about how badly off they are, with "activists" and "advocates" and riders on the gravy train of The Aboriginal Industry, will kill themselves.... although, judging from the numbers of aboriginal people appearing in the census the gravy train will continue to be fully loaded forever.

MAN: All I'm trying... all I'm trying to basically... All I'm trying to say is that the time of white domination of the black movement is over. It's time for black people to do things for themselves and get things for themselves, 'cause it's the only way you'll get anything. Go away, will you? We're doing something. We're talking about you.

Yeah, but to do that you have to get up off your arse and stop blaming everyone else for your societal/community failure. If whitey stepped out of the aboriginal communities and left them go, with the money that they want, many of the dysfunctional ones would kill themselves off quite quickly. But that would be whitey's fault, too.

Should be interesting.

Note: I am for assistance to any Australians who need it. However, that assistance is useless if the people being assisted prefer or continue to wallow in victimhood and blame everyone else for their problems.


stackja1945 said...

kae, many white poeple in the past lived without government support. There was no government support then. Too much 'wineing'.

Boy on a bike said...

Until the first fleet got here, all blackfellas lived without government support. Apparently they managed to do that for 40,000 years (or whatever the current number is that's being bandied about).

We only appear to have had a problem in the last 40 years when government support has been provided.

Anonymous said...

Supposedly when white man arrived there were among the aboriginal communities across this vast land some 700 different political groups speaking 250 distinct languages. That's not a nation.

Yet here we are some 220 years later, still feeling guilty courtesy of some bleeding hearts who are incapable of dealing with the problem they created.

They're all care, no responsibility.


RebeccaH said...

Just as an illustration, we in the US have the same kind of illiteracy and victimology right in the middle of our largest cities among people who've lived in cities with free public education and job training programs all their lives (overshadowing those problems on Indian reservations, where alcohol is the biggest killer, and refusal to face up to the 21st century is a close second). And the largest group of enablers responsible for this kind of crap are the people who thought they were doing the most good by providing "help" without any attendant requirements of responsibility. God protect us all from "do-gooders".