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Myths and heroes : what is the place of Aboriginal mythology in the Australian society ?

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Myths and heroes

Introduction :

I’m going to be talking about the notion of Myths and heroes. After introducing the notion, I’m

going to deal with the example of the Aborigines in Australia and their mythology. To start

with i’m going to define the keywords of this notion. First of all​, a myth can be defined as a

story about gods or heroes, it can be a popular belief, a tradition or a false notion. Second of

all, a hero can be a mythological figure, a person who is admired for his or her

achievements, a superhero, a role model or an icon. Today we may wonder what is the

place of Aboriginal mythology in the Australian society.

Australia + Aborigines + évolution de leurs relations :

To begin with, is it important to know that Australia is an enormous country 14 times bigger

than France, with only 25 million inhabitants. It is well known for its exotic wildlife, because of

its age-long isolation from the world, and for its hard climate. The first inhabitants were the

Aborigines, a black race of hunters for the most which lived there for about 50 000

years.They came to Australia in prehistoric times, from Asia and were divided into

approximately 600 tribes, with nearly 350 different languages. The Aborigines had a special

connection with Nature and all living things because of their mythology of the Dreamtime, but

we’ll get to that later.

Australia was first claimed by Captain James Cook in 1770 for the British crown.

In the 1780’s Australia was divided into several colonies, which started in 1901 to be

federated into what became the Commonwealth of Australia in 1931, under the British

supervision. Nowadays, the Australian capital is Canberra but the largest city remains

Sidney, it is a parliamentary democracy. The period from 1788 to 1820 saw the growth of the

british colonies in Australia.

During this time, the relations between the british and the aborigines began to deteriorate.

As the British took over the land and prevented the Aboriginal people from using it, there

was inevitable conflict. Seeing that the British settlers were clearing the land, putting up

fences and restricting access, the Aborigines started to retaliate against the invasion, but

they were outnumbered and their weapons were basically useless against the guns of the

settlers. It took over 200 years to achieve the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander native title

property rights, and it is described as the single most important legal decision in Australian

history. It was declared in 1992 by the highest court in the land.

Nowadays, the Aborigines are mostly unemployed and live in very hard conditions. There is

a high suicide rate among them and many are now alcoholics.

Even though Federal parliament recognise Indigenous people in the constitution, there are

still a lot to do to make up for the past such as an apology from both Great Britain and

Australia to this continent’s first inhabitants for the violence, wars, mass murders across the

continent and dispossession that came with British invasion and occupation and that for at

least a century and a half. It would also be important to have a genuine conversation about

treaties with the Aborigines and the need for reparations.



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