where do we go from here?  

So for me to summarise the position that we are in now, I think that it relates to white people understanding the position of black people, undestanding the problems that they currently find themselves with and acknowledging our responsibility in creating this imbalance. With that knowledge, we can appreciate their position and that can help us work towards the resolutions that will bring both sides closer together. Clearly there are important steps required from both sides.

For thousands of years, black people lived here and enjoyed healthy and complete lives through understanding their environment and living in harmony with the world that surrounded them.

Upon the arrival of white people, every aspect of the black way of life was attacked; the people themselves, their environment, their rights and acknowledgement of their values. They found themselves to be classed as criminals for living the way that they always had done. They weren't allowed access to where they had lived for all those years. Their food sources were scared off and they weren't allowed access to their traditional hunting grounds. They weren't allowed access to their sacred sites. Their families were broken apart without explanation, compassion or resolution. Their beliefs were ridiculed and their children were taught that they were wrong and told what was right. Half-caste children were educated to think that they were better than Aboriginal people. The Indigenous population were belittled and treated as though they had little value. Their childrewn were taken away. The law-enforcers worked against them, so they had no protection. They were given unhealthy food substitutes to replace their natural sources of food - this change of diet caused a down-turn in their health. They were given access to alcohol that their bodies couldn't handle. They weren't educated enough for white jobs thus leaving them to live off state handouts that made them dependent and controlled by the forces that had put them in this helpless position. They had their lives taken away.

On the whole, it seems that the white people's views of black people have been tainted by seeing drunk Aboriginals in the streets of the cities. These are people with their own problems and a lot of these people are outcast from their own communities who don't embrace the alcoholism and violence that it brings with it. So we are judging a whole race on it's outcasts and that is not the right way at all. There are so many communities out there who are struggling to survive - these are clean communities who are trying to live a good life in extremely difficult conditions.

The black community has some serious issues to work through such as alcoholism, drug taking, violence, assaults etc. There is only so much a victim can be helped - the only way to recover is for them to make positive moves within the black communities and to use the help and assistance that is being offered. There needs to be black ownership of the issues so that they can manage the solution rather than being dictated to. Empowering a race encourages pride and that is a huge first step.

The government have given the apology that the indigenous people needed and merited. They also have made a definite commitment to improving health and education. That is a great first step.

It is also important to ensure that the pride is returned for those of an an indigenous background. The ideal position is for indigenous people to walk with their heads high and be proud of who they are and where they've come from. They should be in a position to bring their culture into the white world and not have to keep it seperate. White people need to be interested and educated in their indigenous brothers and sisters and embrace them and their own culture. Taking that on board, they need to accept the apology and determine the direction they want to move in. They have been victims but they have the choice to make that part of their history rather than something that is ongoing. They need to ensure that their youth are educated both in their black culture and also in the white ways - they need to able to compete for jobs and get themselves into a position where they can provide for themselves rather than be reliant on welfare and thus be able to gain independance and free themselves and regain their pride.

We need to acknowledge our role in the position of black people today and to be positive, encouraging and to assist indigenous people in adapting their culture to work alongside and within the white way of life. We want multi-cultural to contain the indigenous culture and all that it has to offer so that we can all call Australia an equal home.