FIRST NATION.-The politics of aboriginality

Let me ask you three questions:

  1. How did Jesus Christ and Mohammed start a movement that would be adopted and currently dominate the lives of billions of humans and endured for thousands of years?
  2. How did Mark Zuckerberg take Facebook from obscurity to be, within 16 years, one of the dominant businesses and social influencer on the planet?
  3. How big, does the spark need to be to ignite 1,000,000,000 liters of petrol, spread thinly over the surface of a membrane?

The answer to all 3 questions is the same and it will be found, not by understanding the instigator, but by understanding the receptor.

As for the instigator, I get the self-interest bit.

No species currently existing could have got this far along the 3,000 million year journey of the evolutionary process on this planet, without a healthy serving of the self-interest gene.

Within an individual of a species, the absence of this self-interest gene usually is a portend of doom and as a consequence, the cessation of the transfer of this particular piece of DNA to future members of that species.

So why shouldn't all humans existing in Australia at present, utilise whatever facility they perceive will enhance their and their progeny prospects, of not just survival, but optimise their experience of living - and this includes the half million or so Australians that now claim the descriptions and status of ‘aboriginal’ or ‘indigenous’ and now the sexey new ‘first nation’ .

The Question

On the surface it appears to me that:

  • Some Australians today, who claim to possess some genetic material inherited from a human who was living here when the humans from Europe arrived in the 18th Century now want, from the humans now living in Australia who do not posses this genetic material, some form of special entitlement, because of this heritage, over and above their legal right under the common and statutory law of Australia; and

  • That claim is based solely on a philosophical inherited rights by them, unsupported by international law, as a consequence of the arrival of the Europeans in the 18th Century; and

  • The quantum of the claim, while not comprehensively specified, is to be in excess of any benefits already received; and

  • The package appears to include:

    1. An inclusion in the Constitution of Australia a provision to:

      • Formally recognize that this continent was inhabited by and possessed by some of their ancestors, prior to European settlement; and

      • Their ancestors, that were not living elsehwere in the world, were all descendents of the first humans to populate this land mass (Aboriginal); and

      • Provide a right by linage, for their descendents to hold in perpetuity, a favoured position within the ongoing management of this country; and

    2. A Treaty between the Government of Australia and the State Governments of all the Commonwealth for them and their heirs to enshrine lawful, but so far unprescribed, benefits and inhereted, privileged position to such Australians.

Let take each in turn

Firstly the propositions - RECOGNITION.
Spainish Gallion

This I don’t get, because James Cook was aware of human existence and occupation in 1770.

In fact he is reliably quoted by his own journal in saying "… Before and after we Anchor'd we saw a Number of People upon this Island… From the appearance of the people we expected they would have opposed our landing; but as we approached the shore they all made off, and left us in peaceable possession of as much of the Island as served our purpose. ….

A continent currently under prior claim to both the Spanish and the Dutch and international intrigue as European powers manoeuvre within their ongoing game of global colonisation.

So James had formally documented the existence of indigenous occupants of this land and before the British Admiralty dispatched Governor Phillip and the ships to Terra Australis in 1788 I know they knew that this land was occupied by indigenous people.

Then, given the English understanding about the international law of occupation and it relationship to possession, it would have been a given, that the human in Terra Australis Incognita had possession of the territory.

It was just that they (the English) also had an International understanding with the great European powers about how to gain 'ownership' of land currently under the power of 'natives' - But we will get to that later.

Second their proposition - COMPENSATION

On the surface it seem reasonable, if we lived in a fairy tale world. One in which there was no predation and violence was not a normal function of survival by a species programmed by evolution. A fairy tale world fantasised by the creationist theory of at least the Judiac/Christian/Islamic and many other religions, but not 'evolution'.

It appears to me that science has the more probable truth which is that all species currently alive today have gone through a long and tortuous period of struggle including conquest of territory, the elimination of competitors for resources and fundamentally are governed only by the drive of evolution and in which there is no externally mandated imprimatur, providing guidance that is counter-intuitive to self interest.

I believe that this evolutionary process, for the last ~7 million years, included the human species and this process, evidenced over at least the last 3,000 year by written records, has demonstrating this occurred throughout the planet.

I shall seek to demonstrate in this website that there is reasonable grounds to hold the view that for our land mass, during the last 60,000 years, less the last 250 that:

  • migration into this land mass by humans was not a once only event;

  • territory and environment management by humans since arrival here, was most likely consistent with the demonstrative behaviour in all human - elsewhere in the world;

  • human cultural development here, pre European arrival has been no different than in other continents of the planet, just a little slower, than some.

Science is the search for truth but as Jack Nicholson (Colonel Jessep) said in the 1992 movie A Few Good Men “.. You can’t handle the truth…”

Further there is no basis at international law in 1788 for compensation to be paid to a nation conquered by an aggressor. Even more poigent is the fact there currently is no such entity as international LAW - full stop.

The best you get is 'mutual consesus' and that is hardly LAW. [But more on thatt when we visit Mabo]

How could the proposed Treaty project be prosecuted?

The territorial area of the Commonwealth of Australia is an amalgam of sovereign powers (Australian States) formed by the rules of power-sharing set out in the national Constitution.

The federal laws of the Commonwealth of Australia, in 2020, has its head of power in the Constitution put in place in 1901 AND the Common law of England which was imported (According to the High Court of Australia) in 1788.

Prior to 1901 (1788 to 1900) Australia, formally New South Wales/New Holland, was just a bunch of separate English colonies.

Law binds all citizens currently occupying space in a territorial area. This applies to Australia and including those possessing some genetic material inherited from the humans that were living here when the Spanish arrived in 1606, (who obviously where not very impressed and didn't come back), the Dutch in 1644, (who may have came to the same conclusion) and the English in 1770, who had just lost their colony in North America and couldn't afford to be so choosy.

Albert Einstein was quite certain that you cannot travel back in time. So given the absence of that facility, the only capability at law to remedy what in a religious sense would be termed an "unlawful" covet, is for retrospective legislation to turn back time and have the Letters Patent of colonization and the 1901 Constitution declared void. - Zero possibility of that.

The only other mechanism outside of law available to nullify the operation of the Constitution is by the use of superior force, of such a magnitude that it could not only rule by reciprocal power but resist intervention by any interested 3rd party - (For example - exactly what the English did in 1788.) to the existing occupants or perhaps what the Chinese may do to Australia in the latter part of 21st Century when the USA's power has sufficiently waned.

Land Ownership

In 1992 up pops Mabo.

Mabo was was about land ownership in the Torres Strait, Australia, ceded to the Queensland Colony in 1879.

The High Court used the Common Law of the British legal system, which it declared, transferred to Terra Australis in 1788 when the British first 'Colonized' a slice of the continential land mass, and named it New South Wales and then subsequently went on to coloinize the whole continent which eventually was named "Australia" and in 1901 created our National Constitution.

Our Constitution, unlike the American Constitution made no provision for the application of 'Common Law' in Australia, perhaps because common law had been part of British Sovereignty since 1066, and therefore was such a historic feature of Britain's law and possibly because Australia was not initially granted 'sovereignty' status but only a 'Dominion'.

So when in 1901 the Commonwealth of Australia was created, it must have been taken for granted that Australia would inherit this Common Law facility present throught out the colonies without the need to formally declare it to be so in the Constitution of Australia. - Who knows?

But importantly, in the Constitution, the governors annual salary got a whole paragraph.

Further apparently, when the Statute of Westminster 1931 gave Australia 'sovereignty' and removing us from a portion of Great Briton's sovereign territory, it didn't take back it's "Common Law" that we had acquired by stealth.

Or maybe someone slipped up, an oversight perhaps? and we have ever since been to embarrassed to say so!

Brennan, in the Mabo judgement @ 25 was happy to make a judgement about a 1879 event, based on British Common Law having hitched a ride to Australia in 1788 in the hip pocket of "International law" or perhaps in a wicher basket along with their black pudding or hiding under the clothes of the 'perogative of the crown'.

So the former occupants of Terra Australis/Nouvella Hollande may, in 1788, have had their physical management of the land taken from them but were given in its place the protection of the ‘common law’ of the then most powerful nation on earth at that time, which ironically reinforced their legal rights to possession in 1992, of an island in the Torres Straight - but I guess nobody told the former occupants that, in 1788.

Before we look at the Receptor, firstly some definitions:-

Etymology.

Aboriginal

The English word aboriginal entered the English language in the 16th century. It was imported from the Latin (Roman) word Aborigines - the Roman word for the group of humans occupying what is now Italy, before Romulus and Remus started a movement (the Roman Empire) that most likely subjugated some and eliminated others of that group of humans. (Aborigines).

The Latin word Aborigines is believed to have been constructed from other Latin terms ab - origine which in Latin meant “from the - very beginning; or from the - source or origin.”

Indigenous

The English word indigenous arrived a century later (17th). Again had it’s derivation in the Latin word indigen. The Latin word indigen meant ‘a person or thing that is a native

In English, indigenous has a slight variation on the aboriginal theme, meaning ‘originating, growing, or produced in a certain place or region’ the crucial difference being the absence of the component ‘beginning and ‘origin.

That derivation of indigenous reflects and perhaps drew it language root from the reality of the human experience, over the previous 5,000 years in Europe, Africa, the Middle and Far East when human tribes on the move encountered other human tribes already in occupation of an ecosystem.

The term indigenous does not imply the “first” humans to occupy that land, but just the humans in occupation of that land when “subsequent” humans arrived.

I recognise the nature of language and its capacity to evolve along with the living creatures that utilises it's function and over time a word can adopt more contemporary meanings than the circumstances for which the word was created

Wikipedia has confusingly, a contemporaneous description of ‘indigenous’ - telling us:

Indigenous peoples, also known as first peoples, aboriginal peoples, native peoples, or autochthonous peoples, are ethnic groups who are descended from and identify with the original inhabitants of a given region, in contrast to groups that have settled, occupied or colonized the area more recently.

This is in conflicts with the derivation of the historically well respected English language dictionaries but perhaps reflects a coming to terms with the complexity and confusion about the human settlement of our planet.

CulturalSurvival.org tells us that:

There is (currently) no universally accepted definition for “Indigenous,” though there are characteristics that tend to be common among Indigenous Peoples:

Further, given that it was not until the 16th century that Western science established beyond doubt that the earth was not the centre of the solar system, and it was not until the 19th century that humans were first faced with the notion of evolution as a replacement for the creation mythology (held by the vast majority of humanity), about a 'creation event' in which all things, including themselves, now exist, as they were created.

So it is not surprising, to encounter humans living in a certain location, who would have supported a belief that they had always been in that place since the ‘beginning’ (creation) of humans.

These are the precise problem Australia faces in 2020, with the use of both these terms, which the Australian government have attempted to over come by recrafting the derivation into law.

The United Nations in 2008 also moved into this arena with a declaration in relation to the rights of ‘indigenous people.

However using the English language definition of indigenous, as coined in 17th century, all humans born in Australia are indigenous to this country and this nation.

Throughout this website I will be using the traditional English language meaning of these words because it is symbolic of the problem we face.

That is, "aboriginal" will mean the humans and their genetic descendants that first occupied Australia.

Whereas "indigenous" will represent those humans living in Australia and their genetically related descendents, when James Cook took possession in 1770 of most of the eastern seaboard for King George 3 of England

Our Origins

The Evolution of Humans

Homo is a genus of the Hominin subfamily of primates from which humans are said to have evolved. Like to know more....?

A popular current theory amongst Scientist is that humans descended from Homo heidelbergensis.

It is speculated that Between 300,000 to 400,000ya an ancestral group of H. heidelbergensis left Africa and then split into groups,

  • one branch moved northwestward into West Asia and Europe - evolving into Neanderthals.

  • one branch moved eastwards into East Asia - evolving into Denisovans.

  • one branch moved southwards into Southeast Asia - evolveing into Homo erectus .

By 130,000ya those H. heidelbergensis that remained in Africa evolved into Homo sapiens and about 60-80,000ya begin their own exodus from Africa.

The one truth we know about the origin and evolution of the humans currently encountered on this planet is that - WE DONT KNOW.

It is true that we do know more than we used to know and it is true that we are learning faster, but as yet in 2020 we still do not know, we still just speculate.

There is a mountain of material out there you can read, that will give you an insight into the complexity of the process. A complexity that is not just the complexity of the investigations but also the complexity of the investigators.

 

 

BUT so far this is where we are at:

  • There is several billions of a particular species currently living on the planet. The colloquial name for this species is “humans

  • This species has evolved just like every other species currently living on the planet as a consequence of time and a process of DNA modification by both reproductive and non-reproductive mechanisms.

These several billion humans display characteristics that reflect the evolutionary journey undertaken by their recent ancestors. When these characteristics display a degree of physical similarity amongst a group, we call this subset a “race

 

As of 2018 geneticists have identified at least three ancestors (Homo sapiens; Neanderthals; and Denisovans;) that contributed DNA which currently manifest within living humans.

The current belief is that Homo erectuis become extinct without interbreeding with the Homo sapiens; Neanderthals; and Denisovans DNA mixed humans moved into their territory.

However it is very poignant to understand that:-

  • 150 years ago it was believed that all humans, not only were a single distinct species- (Homo sapiens) but we were the only species of our type to have ever existed.

  • 20 years ago it was revealed that Homo Sapiens where only one of at least 20 species of the Homo genus geographically located in Africa, Europe, Middle East and China

  • 12 years ago it was speculated that at least some humans (Homo sapiens) may possibly be a result of the union with a second species (Neanderthals).

  • 7 years ago it was proved that some humans not only had DNA from Neanderthals but from a third species Denisovans creating the possibility of humans composed of (Homo sapiens+Neanderthals) and or  (Homo sapiens+ Denisovans ) and or (Denisovans +Neanderthals+Homo sapiens) DNA.

And get this:-

a 'Species' is defined in Biology as:

. . . . a group of organisms that generally bear a close resemblance to one another in the more essential features of their organization, and breed effectively, producing fertile progeny.

So Homo sapiens; Neanderthals; and Denisovans; cannot therefore, under this definition, be classified as biologically separate species.

It is also reasonable to speculate that if we are fortunate enough to find DNA for other subspecies of the homo genus (i.e. 2015- H. nalendi) that we might eventually find that the current population of humans that inhabit this planet are varieties that reflect different components or combinations of DNA from a wide range of the original members of this Homo genus interbreed over an extended period of time.


Populating Australia

First Arrivals

The most recent Archaeological evidence (2017) for the existence of humans in Australia has speculated initial occupations dates between 45 and 70kya.

The oldest Australian human fossil (Mungo) of a member of the Homo genus is controversially dated to 60kya. (ref) Little is known about the physical appearance of the humans to whom that fossils belong (ref)

In 2001, DNA extracted from these and other fossil remains of early Australian human showed that the genes of 'Mungo Man' were different from that of modern (20th Century) Australian humans. (ref).

Some Archaeologists believes that these fossils (Mungo) were of, or derived entirely from, DNA of the descendants of the ‘first’ humans to colonize the continent.

From where?

So where did the ‘first’ come from?

Well we don’t yet know. - The opinions of scientist generally tend towards 2 models.

The Out of Africa model.

Predicts that the only humans to colonise Australia were Homo Sapiens from Africa who migrated down through South-east Asia. The humans living in Australia when the Europeans humans arrived in the 18th century are said to all be direct descendants of the first African Homo sapiens that populated this continent.

This model is said by the Australian Museum to be the most widely accepted model amongst Archaeologists.

 

Multi Wave

However a recent scientific opion published 2019 challenges the once only migration Out of Africa Model asserting at leat two waves of humans migrated from Africa - the first starting about 120kya and the second starting about 60kya.

The paper forcast that both waves reached Australia

.

The ‘Multi regional’ model

The ‘Multi regional’ model according to the Australian Museum, is said to prescribe two waves of humans arriving in Australia at different times with each group spreading out and colonized the whole continent.

One wave was the descendants of Indonesian Homo erectus. The other wave was from Chinese/India Homo erectus.

As a consequence of these two events the humans living in Australia when the Europeans humans arrived in the 18th century were as a consequence of the assimilation of these two genetic groups.

 

Occupation Patterns?

So what happened, occupation wise, over the last 70ky.

Tracking dispersal of the first humans (wherever they come from either genetically and or geographically) over Australia, using current Archeological 'activity' evidence, shows that it occurred at an average longitudinal pace of 88 meters a year or 2.5 kilometers a generation . (200 time slower than the cane toad). [Northern Territory 70kya -Tasmania 30kya] (35ky to move 3,500k)

So starting at the 70kya date means that by about 30kya the whole of this continent was under the influence of the human species.

This period has been noted by some scientists as coinciding with the extinction of Australia's mega fauna and some scientists hypothesise that this (the mega fauna) extinction was brought about as a consequence of this human occupation.

The Ice Age

Climatologists tell us that the last ice age ranged between 110 to 12 kya, (give or take a few kya's) taking sea levels as low as 160 meters below the present levels.

This provided not only climate conditions that would drive hominids from the cooler areas of the planet towards the equator but optimize terrestrial access conditions as well.

The consequence of these event were that for the period of time, Tasmania, the mainland of Australia, Papua New Guinea and parts of Indonesia would have formed the one single land mass (Sahul) and barriers caused to terrestrial navigation by water obstacles would have been at their minimum

On top of this, a massive Volcano eruption 70kya in what is now Indonesia, would have provided a 'push' component.

In all a very opportunistic period for all and any humans living both in northern Sahul to move south with unimpeded terrestrial access throughout this continent.

In 2016 a paper (Ref) published by genetic researchers states "The population history of Aboriginal Australians remains largely uncharacteristic".

The study looked at genomes for 83 Australians Indigenous (speakers of Pam a–Nanning languages) and 25 Papains Indigenous from the New Guinea Highlands.

The researchers found that Papain and Australian Indigenous ancestors diversified during the period of 25 to 40 Ky, providing a hypothesis for the pre-Holocene population structure in the continent of Sahul (Australia, New Guinea and Tasmania).

But the very interesting conclusion to come from this study was that the Aboriginal Indigenous DNA studied, showed that ALL descend from a single founding population and that this differentiation occurred between approximately 10 to 32 kya.

Their hypothesis is that thses humans populations expansion occurred mainly during the Holocene epoch (from 10,kya) and was restricted to northeast part of Australia, demonstrated by the finding that there was limited gene flow from this region to the rest of Australia and is consistent with language studies of the spread of the Pama–Nyungan languages.

These scientist also hypothesize that this followed a single out-of-Africa dispersal where the Australians and Papuans Aboriginals diverged from an Eurasians population 51 to 72 kya and subsequently formed and admixture with existing archaic human populations.

The study also found evidence or selective independent evolution for the Australians Indigenous living in the desert.

So given the scientific evidence thus far showing that members of the Homo genus evolved in China, Europe and Africa, it is a reasonable conclusion that humans occupation of Australia's land mass could have occurred by migration possibly from but certainly through, South East Asia -Thailand, Malaysia, Sumatra, Java, Timor-Leste and Papua New Guinea or alternatively from Taiwan, Philippines, Brunei, Indonesia then into Papua New Guinea supported by a yet unresolved and for that time, dangerous sea voyage.

However, be that as it may, (the seas voyage part) humans certainly did get to Australia during that period.

How many and how often, have yet to determine.

Global Warming

This ice age come to an abrupt end about 8-12kya resulting in rapid sea level rises severing Tasmania and Papua New Guinea and portions of Indonesia, resulting in the brake up of Sahul continental land mass.

Some Australian Indigenous groups on the east coast of Australia have within their past oral stories handed down, referencing a historic rising of sea levels in the area now described as the Great Barrier Reef.

The Dingo Riddle

Australian indigenous demonstrate a great affinity with their dogs.

Both DNA and archaeological evidence sets the appearance of the dingo species in the Australian environment at between 11 and 4.6kya.

The existence of dingoes within the Australian fauna is most popularly believed to be the result of the introduction of the animal into the continent, with humans and then subsequently the animals were released or escaped into the Australian ecology.

The problem for the Out of Africa model (Part A) is that if the first Australians (Aboriginals) arrived 60 to 70kya and there were no subsequent arrivals by other colonizing humans from other parts of the planet since, - then who brought in the dingoes?

Or

If the dingoes were brought by seafaring people did any of these seafaring humans stay and amalgamate with the existing humans already there and how many and how often?

Or

If the dingoes simply wandered here by themselves, how was it that dingoes could emigrate to Australia but other humans living elsewhere with the dingoes, could not?



Where are the White Aborignals?

Here I am not talking about modern day 'aboriginals' who, because of the genetic contribution made by their ancestors from light-skinned races, have morphed into white Australian 'aboriginals', I am talking about the aboriginals in 1642 that waived their spears at Abel J. Tasman  as he sail past and named their island Van Diemens Land.  

The recent advances in evolutionary biology have extended our understanding of the functions that skin colour plays in supporting an organism. While it has been known for a long time the importance of skin to an organism, a greater understanding is now emerging about skin colour and why there are so many variations.

Because organisms on the planet are subjected to radiation from the sun, skin while providing a protective barrier also at the same time has the capability to produce certain chemical pigments that protect it and folate from damage as a consequence of these high radiation levels.

This however it is a balancing act, because sun radiation on skin is, in humans, also responsible for being the major source of vitamin D, an essential vitamin used by the body to deliver biological functions within us.

Evolutionary biologists speculate that archaic humans had fair skin underneath their fur cover but that as we started to shed our fur and moved from the forest in that the plains of the Savanna of Africa their skin also evolved and produced dark pigmentation to deliver this skin protection.(Plus more sweat glands)

Skin Zones The largest amount of radiation reaching the planet occurs at the equator and significant amounts are experienced between the latitudes of the Tropic of Capricorn and Cancer and for that reason, modern humans, in constant occupation of these regions develop skin intensity of protective pigments relevant to the radiation levels.

As human occupation of land move further towards the poles this darken skin evolved towards lighter shade both because of the reduction in radiation intensity and thus the reduced need for heavy protection and also the acquisition of artificial (borrowed) skin coverings..[Ref]

Contemporary geneticists have indicated that the transition from one skin state to another (that is light to dark or dark to light) can be a accommodated by evolution over a period as short as 200 generations.[Ref]

Given that for humans operating in a hunter/gather society, females are actively reproducing by the age of 16 years thereby 200 generations would equate to a period as short as 3,200 years.

According to archaeological evidence Tasmania was first colonised by humans about 30,000 years ago.

Geneticists have produced the map above which indicates the skin colour by latitude. It can clearly be seen from the map aboriginals living in Tasmania should have by at least 25,000 years ago acquired light colour (White) skin.

.
Tasmnina Aborignals This photographs of aboriginals of Tasmania taken in the 19th-century shows significant darkness of their skin. The claim that they are the decendents of a first humans occupation 30,000 years ago, needs to be re-examined in the light of this genetic evidence.


The Colonial Era.

From whence the conquerors came

 

The European colonial period ranged from the 16th century to the mid-20th century.

Technological advances, fuelled by fierce competition between European tribes over two thousand years since the time of the Mycenaean was entering a new phase of rapid escalation in resource exploitation, food production, transportation and weapons of war but was now coalescing with major social changes.

Specifically in the 15th and 16th centuries when two very important events occurred

A. The rise of powerful European Nation States.

  • England -1485 - Henry VII wins the War of the Roses and starts Tudor dynasty thus developing the English nation-state;

  • Spain-1492 - Monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella take back all of Spain from the Muslims and begin Spain era as a global power;

  • Russia-1547–1584 - Ivan the Terrible creates the first Russian nation-state;

  • France -1638–1715 - Louis XIV creates an absolute monarchy and emerges France as a nation-state and the dominant power in Europe. PLUS

B. Rapid advances in technology in maritime transport and armaments, especially canon.

Spainish GallionCulminating in 1648 in the Peace of Westphalia agreement which cements the legal status of the nation-state in Europe as sovereign and laying the foundation for International Law, albeit confined to European nations.

Today as it was then, ‘law’ was only as good as ones ability to make it and enforce it. -The old dictum “Might is Right” is still supreme.

Collectively these advances in human capability provided nation states, especially those with access to the Atlantic Ocean (Britain, France, Germany, Netherlands, Portugal, Belgium and Spain) with opportunities to utilize their newly developed formidable fighting powers.

These nations states then set about exercising this power globally, establishing colonies in Asia, Africa, the Americas, primarily for the purposes of acquiring resources from those countries and then, following the American war of independence, when Britain's lost its major North American colony, Australia, and New Zealand.

International law, albeit defined by an elite group of nations only, of the European continent, (containing the most powerful human organizations on the planet) in 1770 provided three circumstances by which these sovereign nations could acquire land external to their territories.

It was

  • by conquest

  • by colonisation; or

  • by a cessation

Conquest is self-explanatory and is practised when one sovereign power invades another sovereign power and to the victor goes the spoils.

Cessation is likewise reasonably self-explanatory and it is when one nation state voluntarily passes authority and ownership of their territory to another nation state (i.e. Hong Kong) usually for the benefit of coming under their protective umbrella.

Colonisation was a little trickier.

A sovereign state could only colonise land that was considered to be vacant i.e. not settled by any other humans. (Terra nullius)

But as with interpretation of law (as is still the case today), this law was under constant realignment, depending upon circumstances and Terra nullius could be interpreted as anywhere from ‘not cultivated’ up to ‘not Christians’.

The European Nations at that time defined Terra Nullius us

  • land unoccupied by humans (i.e. Antarctica)
  • land occupied by humans who were:
    • heathens (Non Christians); or
    • not organised socially as to have formed a recognizable administrative nation and consequently there was no easily recognizable/formidable leadership; and or
    • not utilising the land for the purposes of enhancing food resources (agriculture) or exploiting the resources by either mining or forestry.

    Apparently some people don't know about this definition

    It was in exercising this International Law that Captain James Cook in 1770, claimed for King George 3rd of Britton a large swag of the eastern seaboard of New Holland and it was the United Kingdom who chose the ‘colonisationoption for this land and gave effect to that choice in 1788.

    So given the three options why choose colonisation? Why not either of the other two options conquest or cessation?

    Well, not that I can find literature necessary to back up my speculation but colonisation is the obvious conclusion given that conditions did not exist for the utilisation of either of the other two options.

    The requirements for conquest under the terms of engagement existing within the European nations and applied globally required the delivery of a 'Declaration of War' by the aggressor to the the leader of the nation against which such action is planned.

    Similarly for cessation to occur, under the terms of understanding, existing between the European nations and applied globally, there was the requirement for negotiations between the two parties in which both negotiators had the authority to speak on behalf of the subject nations, the parties to the the proposal.

    The speculation at present by anthropologists is that in 1770 the human population of Terra Australis would have been somewhere not greater than 1 million humans. This number would have comprised up to a possible 600 different small clans averaging 2000 members. No formal system existed within the social construct between clans of even a subset area to allow a person to speak with one voice on behalf of the inhabitants of a National Territory.

    Further given that half this number (500,000) could reasonably be assumed to reside in the territory within the New Holland portion claimed by the Dutch and not the portion the subject of the acquisition to be claimed by James Cook, the complexity in exercising either of the other two options would certainly negated their consideration.

    Put simply there was no representative entity available for a recognizable nation upon which to serve a 'declaration of war' and the same applied in relation to entering into meaningful negotiations on cessasion.

    Colonisation was the only option available.

    Colonisation was executed by first the establishment of a colony in a territory and then by subsequent maintenance, expansion, and exploitation via that colony.

    A strategy adopted by a wide range of species of which humans is just one perpetrator.

    Colonialism was a relationship between the indigenous populations and foreign colonisers who, convinced of their ordained mandate (God Given Right) to rule, supported in 1770 by International law and backed up their authority with their willingness to use their technological superiority to enforce and if need be, to defend that mandate.

    This activity by the British in the 16th and 17th century was no doubt the basis for the need for the words aboriginal and indigenous  to enter the English language for use as a component of these colonizing activities throughout the globe.

    Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy (2006) defines the term 'colonialism' as

    The process of European settlement and political control over the rest of the world, including the Americas, Australia, and parts of Africa and Asia."

    The European colonialism era ended by the 1960s.

    Aboriginal Australians

    It is difficult to believe that humans arrived in Australia 60 to 70kya, went on to then occupied the whole continent and then subsequent to that arrival, no further humans migration into this landmass occurred until 1788.

    A space of some possible 70,000 years of total isolation?

    The best evidence available at present suggests that humans began to commit information into a permanent form (cave paintings) about 30kya and writing, (inscribed symbol as code for items) about 5kya.

    Written evidence left behind by human cultures elsewhere on the planet, particularly in the Mediterranean and Europe over the last 3000 years and now supported by DNA evidence tell us a story about the behaviour of human settlement in those parts of the planet during that period.

    This recorded information displays a story of conflict and contest in acquiring and occupying territory already occupied by other groups of humans.

    It describes the ability of humans to enter into conflict in mass and to develop tools to aid in the killing of not just other species but their own.

    Given the processes of evolution there is no reason to believe that this recent recorded human behaviour in those parts of the world would not have been consistent with the behaviour demonstrated by ALL humans over the planet (including Sahul) and over at least the last 70,000 years.

    DNA research confirms the modern human migration history for at least the last 100,000 years for particular areas of the planet and it displays a story about successive changes in heritage DNA from other human groups as a consequence of constant incursion/immigration, confrontation and dominance of particular human ‘group’ over other ‘groups’ throughout a continent.

    It is impossible to comprehend that at least for the 15,000 years the Sahul continent land mass existed, in the last ice age, that human population in that continent were not subjected to the same experience as elsewhere on the planet and to believe that there was no population movement patterns of humans within the Sahul land mass during that time, resulting in conflict and exchange of occupations rights and land title in regions within the Sahul continent, is completely irrational.

    SahulWe know that during that Ice age period when the ocean levels were much lower, land area of the Torres Straight was dry fertile and therefore would have been occupied by humans 10+kya .

    When the oceans began to rapidly rise (Approximately 15mm a year) humans in this area were faced with only two choices -

    • move-north to Papua New Guinea;
    • or
    • move- South to Australia.

    The humans standing in Botany Bay when the ships HMS Supply and Sirius arrived in 1788 may well have been the descendants of the Torres Straight (Arafura plains) humans that moved sometime during 10ky period, perhaps displacing the tribes that first settled that area 30kya.

    Or maybe, like the human in Europe, Asia, Africa or the Americas, had a mixture of DNA, some from the humans that originally moved down thought the continent and arrived about 30kya and those who chose to move further south as the Arafura plains went under water 10kya.

    The History of Current Indigenous Australians.

    Neurology tells us that oral history is woefully unreliable and horribly inaccurate.

    It is not that written information is reliably accurate but the information that is encoded and committed to a solid form does not morph into something totally unrelated to the original context, by successive iterations, as is the case for humans history, without a written recording facility.

    There is no evidence that the humans occupying this continent when the Europeans arrived in the 17th and 18th century, had developed a system of written language.

    Without this reliable system of recorded information it is impossible to have a reliable understanding of even the last few thousand years of human occupation of this continent prior to the rival of the Europeans - let alone the last 70kya.

    Even anecdotal evidence presented by researchers from Griffith University cite aboriginal stories stating a number of migrations over many thousands of years for their particular group.

    Even if we do consider the information in oral language as a source to have some value, I have so far been unable to uncover any evidence, from Australian indigenous groups, with direct links to the humans that where here at the time of the arrival of European, which has a consistent story about the ‘original’ (or any) occupation events of this continent OR provide a reliable insight as to how these groups of humans, settle disputes about territory and the day-to-day management of their groups.(i.e. group decision making).

    We are told these groups are called 'Nations' and the claim is that when the Europeans arrived there was about 600 Nations occupying the continent.

    But there doesn't seem to be any details, made public and widely available, about how big these nations were, what number comprised a nation, how were decisions made about nation management.

    The Dreamtime as it is described, is in essence a 'pre European version on the Jewish and Christian theme in Genesis - about creation. Interestingly though it contains no information however about genealogy, relevant to the ‘original’ inhabitants (The OZ Adam and Eve) on this land mass.

    Yet despite the absence of conclusive scientific evidence to link the humans occupying the Great South Land in 1788 with the descendants of the first humans to occupy this continent 70kya, Australians carrying some DNA from those humans, present on this continent in 1788, are now ready to claim they are the descendents of the First HUMAN Nation of this continent.

    This speculation could be tolerated under the same principal we (a modern society) have for various religious belief but what I find impossible to rationalise is how scientific organisations like Universities and Museums can embrace and encourage such a belief, in the absence of sufficient scientific validation.

    The fact that there is yet still no conclusive evidence for this claim of ancestry to  the ‘First Australians’ [Not only continuous but absolutely exclusive occupation] seem to cause no problem in promoting this claim.

    The last word in relation to the the human history of Australia should go to Professor Alan Cooper,- University of Adelaide's Centre for Ancient DNA - 2013 Ref

    "It's one of the most rich and challenging stories in human history, and we know almost nothing about it, as this study has shown."

    My Ancestors!

    So where are we up to with ancestry and culture?

    My mother's German my father is Scottish but I was born in Australia - so which is my nation/culture?

    Jackie Lambie was found to be ineligible to sit in the Australian Parliament because she was found to be a citizen of a two nations. Yet Jackie Lambie is a high profile self-identifying 'Aboriginal' Australian.

    She told me so, with pride, the days she took her seat in Federal Parliament she was a member of Plangermaireener nation.

    She didn't tell me, even with no pride at all that day, that she was also a member of the British nation.

    Her membership of the British nation however was confirmed to the satisfaction of the High Court of Australia. Her membership of the Plangermaireener nation (nation?) was challenged by a number of other influential Australian indigenous, including the chairman of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Land Council.

    Interestingly enough it was reported that another Tasmanian indigenous elder said if "... she's identified as Aboriginal, she's got that right as far as I'm concerned", and criticised other high profile indigenous leaders for doubting her claims.

    Seems like, to me, that this Aboriginal/Indigenous/First Nation enigma is founded upon not a very high standard of proof.

     

    Warren Bolton