Land right problems of the indigenous people in the last 234 years

Essay by aharaUniversity, Bachelor'sB, April 2004

download word file, 4 pages 4.0

Everything began in 1770 when the naval lieutenant James Cook and his crew sailed the eastern coast of Australia and claimed possession of New South Wales in the name of the British Crown. 28 years later Arthur Phillip claimed the rest of the continent and the British monarch family became the owner of the land. At the time of the ?invasion? approximately three-hundred thousand to one million indigenous people lived at all over the continent. Today only one percent of Australians are indigenous people 1.

In the 18th century international law recognized three ways of acquiring power over land: 1.) conquest; 2.) cession; and 3.) ?terra nullius?. Terra nullius was defined by international law as land that was unoccupied or that was occupied by people without a legal representative, without laws, a legal system or a culture.

In the case of Australia, the British settlers claimed that the indigenous people were primitive human beings that do not have any customs, laws or legal system; do not believe in any God and that the Crown therefore has the right to claim ownership over the continent defined by the British as ?terra nullius? 2.

The natives remember Cook with mixed emotions in many different ways. All over Australia, indigenous people wrote, painted and sang over the last centuries about their pain of losing their land, customs, freedoms, and many of them also their children 3. Until the early 1970´s they were not allowed to vote and their constitutional rights in the everyday society were fully ignored 4. They were forced off productive land in order of making way to white farmers that seemed to be more important to society since they planted seeds and sold the food in a capitalist world. Cultural values, historical paintings and traditional get-togethers were not welcome in...