From the Available Sources, What Can We Say About the Roles and Status of Aboriginal Women in Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Century Indigenous Society? Essay

1065 WordsJun 26, 20145 Pages
Upon arriving in Australia, European explorers and ultimately the European settlers that followed must have been very curious and intrigued when they came across the indigenous population of Australia that had such a contrasting and different culture from their own. The social structures of Australian Aboriginal society was unique to the landscape in which they lived and also to the evolutionary stage that their civilization had reached. The status that Aboriginal women held in their society must have been especially puzzling as Europeans came across such contrasting treatment towards women by the male members of their society. There have been documented instances where Europeans witnessed women being treated inhumanly by other member of their society and then there are instances where document suggest that Aboriginal women were seemingly in control of their own fate. (McGrath, 1990) What was quite clear was that within ceremonies and rituals known as “Dream Time” Aboriginal women held a very unique and somewhat powerful position in this regard. (McGrath, 1990) The debates and questions regarding the social positions of females within indigenous societies are fairly new as their was no record of this prior to colonization and early historians and Anthropologists seemed to avoid the subject altogether. (Broome, 1994) It seems that it was only after the rise of Feminism and women’s rights that the social standing and significance of Aboriginal women became an issue to be discussed and explored. The role of Aboriginal women in eighteenth and nineteenth century indigenous society seemed to be a very integral and complex one. The indigenous society within Australia at the time was considered to have an egalitarian social structure, without kings or Chiefs. There was also great emphasis on the different roles played by men and women in indigenous society with

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