Colonialism and white settlers reflective essay

Reflective Essay
Colonialism and white settlers interrupted the Aboriginals, one of Australia’s ancient ethnic groups and cultures. Originally Aboriginals were hunters and gatherers but also practiced aquaculture and agriculture. They were subjected to racism and inequity. The white settlers dispossessed land that belonged to the indigenous communities forcing them into the dormitory system. They were changed names and introduced to the white culture. The colonialist government developed an assimilation policy that separated the Aboriginal children from their families, but they were neglected and abused (Klein, 2021). This reflection paper explores critical issues such as challenges, themes, and sociological theories that relate to the Aboriginals in the course content.
Key Issue Nominated Reading
One of the issues I found challenging in Aunty Ruth Hegarty’s autobiography, “Is that you, Ruthie?” is the separation and discrimination of the indigenous people. Some Natives, such as Ruth, were forced to live in the Cherbourg dormitory with the other 60 girls. These women were handled as prisoners, although they committed no crime. Ruth lived with her mother in the same dormitory but on different sides. Ruth was separated from her mother when she was four, and the two lost social contact. The young children were mistreated, whipped, and psychologically and physically abused whenever they committed minor misdemeanors (Hegarty, 2013). The experience that Ruth and her mother went through was painful for Aboriginals in Australia. It was an inhuman exposure and psychological torture that no one would ever wish even their enemies to go through. Being born as an Aboriginal in Australia was perceived as a sin. The indigenous communities were significantly attacked through violent battles that violated their independence and the rights to control water, land, and food resources.
When Ruth hit 14, she was taken away to work as a domestic servant under the Cherbourg mission. This move made her feel vulnerable, lonely, and isolated as he was forced to work and live with strangers. Being Aborigine made Ruth struggle for many years of her life, as when she got married, her husband treated her like she was still in the dormitory system and took total control for over 15 years (Korff, 2018). They were years of strictly controlled without no freedom. The native Australians faced numerous challenges due to discrimination and inaccessibility to basic facilities essential to improve their lives. Their lives were disrupted as they were severely raided by the white people who forced them to hide in the bushes to avoid separating from their families and communities. Many Aboriginals lived in terror when their camps were raided; they were shot in the legs or hands. Through these attacks, the indigenous children were kidnapped and over-exploited in labor. They were perceived as cheap servants who only received clothing and food but lived under dilapidated conditions. The native children would be taught the habits and values of the colonial settlers and subjected to a lot of hostility.
The sociological theory that relates to the issue of separation and discrimination described in Aunty Ruth Hegarty’s autobiography is conflict theory. Conflict perspectives perceive society as groups with different interests (Trueman, 2022). The white colonialists used disproportionate influence to reorganize society and instill social values. They took advantage of indigenous people to maintain power differences by controlling them through social institutions such as Cherbourg dormitory systems. The Aboriginals were exploited through forced labor, and children were separated from their parents to disorganize them and prevent rebellion. Ruth suffered profoundly as a dormitory girl as she was mistreated and compelled to serve as a domestic worker in the homes of colonial masters.
Key Issue from Course Films and Documentaries
The key issue that changed the way I think from the silence Conspiracy: killing-times Queensland’s frontier Film by Timothy Bottoms, is how the Aboriginals were killed and tortured in Queensland. The Queensland Frontier was one of the Australian colonies full of violence. The violence was triggered by the white pastoralists who penetrated new parts of the country without considering the interests of the Aboriginals (Bottoms, 2016). Also, the film reveals that the colonial police engaged in deadly work in the region, and the native police responded. The exchange not only led to the killing of the indigenous people but also the death of the whites in small numbers. During this period, the organizations that were supposed to protect people perpetrated poisonings, massacres, and other horrifying incidents which have not been documented.
Some challenges include the brutal dispossession and forced cession of land by the indigenous landowners that the white colonists carried out for decades. Queensland was a unique brutal place as those in authority used police to play a notorious role in eliminating the Aboriginals through dark plans. This region was particularly violent based on the number of people killed and the nature of savagery applied. The primary cause of disputes in Queensland is that over 35%, about 250,000, of the Aboriginal population in Australia lived there (Bottoms, 2016). But, by the end of the First World War, over 225,000 people died through massacre and diseases. The whites feared that the indigenous people would turn against them, and they chose to convert some to non-white laborers. The rest were killed through gun technology to dilute diverse reactions that would jeopardize the colony.
The sociological concept associated with the massacring and killing of Aboriginals is systematic and structural racism. This form of racism and discrimination is embedded in unwritten and written policies and the societal systems that disadvantage some communities (Crossman, 2019). Therefore, it promotes segregation and unfair treatment of people of a . Such a practice led to the massive killing of the Aboriginals by the white police, forced labor, environmental injustices, and coercive disposition of the local land. The tribulations and brutal treatment that the indigenous people went through were due to their skin color being different from the colonists and not receiving the appropriate coverage for future generations. They need to be educated on how the native landowner disposed of their land and the colonial mindset and negative perception of the Native Australians through the use of undesirable systems.
Key Issue from Content Theme
The issue I consider a challenge in The Little Red Yellow Black Book is the theme of cultural aspects. The text covers the history and traditions of the indigenous Australians before, during, and after colonialism. It shows that indigenous culture was ingrained in traditional forms such as music, dance, and visual arts (Pascoe, 2019). The Aboriginals have also portrayed their strong interest in sports. Aboriginal cultures and languages have had a significant impact on modern Australian society. The culture of the indigenous Australians is still felt today, and the communities build a cultural heritage they believe in.
Despite the challenges they encountered during the colonial period, such as segregation by the whites, they preserved their heritage. They passed the rituals, knowledge, performances, and arts from one generation to the other. They have spoken and taught their languages and preserved their sacred sites and cultural materials (Pascoe, 2019). Also, the Aboriginals continue adapting to changes and external influences, a move that has enabled their culture to survive for a long time. However, the Aboriginal identity was highly affected during the colonization era due to the separation of families, forced use of English, and the influence of religious teachings. The Aboriginals have fought to reclaim their identity and overcome injustices that killed some of their traditions.
The sociological theory that relates to the cultural aspects is the functionalist perspective. It emphasizes the interconnected relationships that exist between different systems within society. It focuses on how society influences others. Culture and education are critical in transmitting young people’s family values and social beliefs (Crossman, 2019). Through the functionalist theory, the Native Australians can pass their cultural traditions and knowledge to the younger generation promoting social cohesion.
Reflection on Personal Position
The discrimination and segregation of the indigenous communities were uncalled for. The colonizers were morally wrong for engaging in activities that tortured mothers and their children. Taking away the land that belonged to the Aboriginal communities through coercion and forced eviction was inhuman. The colonizers should have considered reaching an amicable agreement to share the available resources. Such an approach would have reduced the trauma and depression some people like Ruth and her mother went through in Cherbourg Aboriginal Mission.
As a person passionate about entrepreneurship and international relations, this content is vital in understanding the history of different communities in contemporary Australia. This will help me to design products and develop promotion strategies that meet the needs of the diverse groups within Australian society. Indigenous communities should be economically, socially, and politically empowered due to the oppression and brutality that they went through during colonialism (Klik, 2020). The Aboriginals’ dignity was highly affected by the whites who subjected them to forced labor and put them under the dormitory system, which led to family separation. The government should develop policies to ensure that the Aboriginals have the same participation in the Australian economy.
The government should also consider preserving the indigenous people’s cultural traditions, norms, and values to promote the country’s diversity. Although English is used as the national language, the government should consider supporting cultural events and days when different communities living in Australia can showcase their cultural heritage. However, today, the social status of the Aboriginals has changed, and they no longer go through the devastating dormitory system. They are not exposed to new diseases or violent conflict as they have regained their freedom. Although the European settlement introduced the use of English, the indigenous communities have continued to adapt to external sources and find ways of fostering their cultural beliefs and values. Aboriginal people who were not killed now have a better life as they can access food, education, and job opportunities, and some have been settled in their former land.
Aboriginals have struggled under colonial rule as their rights are violated and handled as less human. The white settlers exposed indigenous communities to structural racism and discrimination and racism. The police were directed to maim and kill the Aboriginals who resisted the torture perpetrated by the whites and dispossessed their land. Young children and mothers greatly suffered under the dormitory system. Therefore, they need to be resettled by the government and subjected to equal treatment.


Bottoms, T. (2016). A Conspiracy of silence, Queensland’s frontier killing times.
Crossman, A. (2019). . Thought Co. https://www.thoughtco..
Hegarty, R. (2013). Is that you, Ruthie? University of Queensland Press.
Klein, E. (2021). The Indigenous development assemblage and contemporary forms of elimination in settler colonial Australia.Postcolonial Studies,24(3), 362-383.
Klik, L. (2020). Re-settling Australia? Indigeneity, indigenous sovereignty, and the postcolonial nation in Kim Scott’s taboo.Ariel: A Review of International English Literature,51(2), 177-202.
Korff, J. (2018). Is That You Ruthie?. Creative Spirits.
Pascoe, B. (2019). The Little Red, Yellow, Black Book: An introduction to indigenous Australia (4th ed.). E-book.
Trueman, C. N. (2022). Sociological theories. History Learning Site.


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