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The impact of Christian Missions/missionaries on Australia Aboriginals. Free essay! Download now

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The impact of Christian Missions/missionaries on Australia Aboriginals.

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Downloads to date: N/A | Words: 1800 | Submitted: 14-Jun-2008
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The impact of Christian Missions/missionaries on Australia Aboriginals.


Mission history needs to be studied in great detail if we are to move away from the tired old clichés about missions and their treatment of the local Indigenous people. Missions and missionaries have often been blamed for combining with colonialism and the destruction of the Aboriginal cultures. In the other hand, history can be cover by men and women of whatever church by saying that whatever injustice occurred was more than justified by the fact that these people had gained access to Christianity. A more discerning account of mission histories, need to be examined to give both sides, in which the encounter with Christianity was not to show that the natives was not presented as mere victims but also to show that the mission’s agenda was not the same as that of other colonial forces but actually diverged from it. Missionary attitude, while conditioned to cultural needs of the people, could also be, in some cases counter-culture. Although there was a view among some of the early missionaries, that the native was only capable of being “civilized to the level of the working class in Britain, there was also a firm conviction as to their fundamental humanity. Moreover these people were the first to see the hard ship caused by dispossession, and the responsibilities of those who benefited from these dispossessions. Aboriginal people interpreted their experience in ways that made sense to them despite skepticism from some white Church people. For some native people at least, mission history and Christianity is not an aberration in their experience, it is as central as the Dreamtime. In this essay we will examine the good things and the bad things looking at both sides of the argument as to whether the Aboriginals should have been left to their own way of living or should they have had Christianity virtually forced on them.

The native’s tradition is that the outlook lies in the children. Ironically, so did the missionaries who came into contact with them. This was a strange irony as the missionaries themselves strived to change the Aboriginals whole way of life and make it more European. The settlers therefore used the children to achieve this. “The idea was you can’t do much with adults; you have to concentrate on the children.” The missionaries did this in numerous ways .They targeted the areas where the tribal Aboriginal had their dwellings and tried to gather the children into dormitories. In the North-Eastern part of Arnhem Land, however the Methodists there believed in working with the families and not to separate them. However this was not very common as the Aboriginals had their own spiritual beliefs and by the 19th Century after many years the Global Christian Missionary Movement became a problem in Australia. This country was not seen as a mission field as like other continents, such as “islands of the Pacific, Asia, and Africa” Tony Austin and Suzanne Perry in their book, Connection and Disconnection Page 254 argue that “neither Australia’s settlers nor its Indigenous population receive more than passing attention from missionaries during the first century of European occupation; it inspired no one as the land of the Cross . However, in the 19th Century and early 20th Century the Christian church in Australia began to make some progress in their mission activities, and in the first half of the 20th Century “three Christian churches had recognized mission stations in the Northern Territory. It can also be argued that “the main purpose of these mission stations was to proselytize, and missionaries were clear about their approach to the Christianization of the Aboriginal people”

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