Australian Aboriginal People, Diversity, + Identity


What do you think about when you hear the term indigenous people? I usually think of Native Americans, yet they aren’t the only indigenous people on the planet. Only in the last five years did I learn about the Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders of Australia.

For International Women’s Month, I wanted to make sure we featured as many different nations. I also wanted to create pieces that were a bit meatier so we could get something out of these posts. Luckily Ebony, aka The Travelling Unicorn, was able to help me get to know a group of people I knew just 1 thing about.

Aboriginal people Australians fb

As I mention on the episode, in my college core music class we had an assignment to make a presentation about the music from a specific country. My partner and I chose Australia and decided to feature Yothi Yindi. They are the only aboriginal people I know about and my only familiarity with the term.

Ebony and I discuss Australia’s treatment of the aboriginal people, the distinction between the terms indigenous and aboriginal, the reasons behind the mistreatment, how society is changing, and how representation is very slowing improving.

Before the episode, I asked Ebony for some homework. Here are some of the things I watched or read up about. Many of these women are also mentioned on the episode.

Miranda Tapsell is an actress who was in the hit movie The Sapphires from a few years ago. Here is her acceptance speech at an Australian TV awards show where she requests more opportunities for diversity on screen, to a very white crowd’s applause.

Dr. Anita Heiss is a poet, writer, and speaker. She’s one of Ebony’s favorite people so I had to check her out. She has written so many books and apparently the genre she writes in is called “choc lit” as it either features or is intended for Aboriginal people. I found that funny and weird at the same time.

Here she is talking about herself and identity in general. She’s a great performer and this TedX video was really entertaining and enlightening at the same time. Enjoy it.

Jessica Mauboy is a very successful pop singer. She won Australian Idol and has broken into the mainstream pop scene since. My favorite song of hers will feature on one of our playlists coming soon. It’s called, This Ain’t Love. We also discussed her Australia Day Instagram post.

I discovered that I really love a patriotic song she was featured in. Not weird because I get very emotional often and especially regarding patriotism of any kind. I weep during the Olympic medal ceremonies.

jessica mauboy aboriginal people flag

Though honestly, weird for me as a non-Australian and a bit uncomfortable after learning what I did from Ebony. It seems the song is more aspirational than a reflection of the current situation.

Not Mentioned on the Episode:

Unfortunately, part of our tracks were lost when we talked about the issue of stolen children. Both how the Australian government actually took children away from Aboriginal families and a situation I am aware of in both sides of my family of Yemenite children stolen in Israel. Being that the topic was so serious, I didn’t want to present an incomplete part.

Here are some links if you’d like to learn more:

Sorry Day and the Stolen Generations
A Guide to Australia’s Stolen Generations

The Babies from Yemen: An Enduring Mystery
The Disappeared Yemenite Babies

Further Reading:
A one-hour conversation about this subject may not give you all the information and context you’d like. So here are a few more names and links to help you familiarize yourself with the Aboriginal people of Australia and their history: