Having an INFORMED discussion -
NOT a Political strategy.

FIRST NATION

While we are on the matter of ‘First Nation’ lets also look at this term.

The English term ‘Nation’ evolved in the 13th century and in contemporary dictionaries is defined as describing the characteristics of:

  • a large body of people, associated with a particular territory, that is sufficiently conscious of its unity to seek or to possess a government of it’s own:
  • The government of a sovereign state.
  • A federation of tribes, especially one composed of Native Americans
  • an aggregation of persons of the same ethnic family, often speaking the same language or cognate languages.

According to published information, when Europeans arrived in the 18th century to colonize Australia the indigenous population occupying the continent at that time, comprised some between 250 to over 700 language groups.

I have been unable to locate any information that indicates that there was a cognate relationship between all these identified groups of sufficient mass to satisfy the English definition of 'Nation'.

The Australian Museum says

Indigenous Australians are not one group; Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders throughout Australia have different thoughts, ideas and beliefs.

Some decendents of Australian aborignal use the term 'Nation' as a synonym for "Tribe" but the formal langauage of Australia in 2016 is English. If you wish to communicate effectively within this current Society you need to use English terms effectively.

Nor have I been able to locate any information that indicates that there was a cohesive relationship between these groups, in the form of administrative structures that would reflect the operation of these groups, in a way characteristic of a ‘nation’.

In material published in relation to Native Title Claims there is evidence that there was ‘no broad regional cohesion’ between the language groups, certainly in relation to

  • ongoing regional territorial defence; or
  • cooperative undertakings on regional infrastructure sharing for the purposes of providing ongoing mutually advantageous resources.

- other than entry concessions to territory for the purposes of sharing seasonal available resources.

Even the suggestion, in relation to some land right claims, that there was binding neighbourhood arrangements in place between adjoining groups in relation to land rights, has been strongly contested by some claimants.

There is no evidence to support a finding that there had at any time existed an Aboriginal ‘Nation’ controlling the land mass of Australia or even a sizeable portion.

It has been often speculated as to why the invading Europeans did not simply declare war on the existing inhabitants as occurred in New Zealand in 1845 or the Spanish invasion of the Inca Empire in 1528.

One possible explanation is that it was because there was no government (Nation) in Australia with which the British could deal, regarding the delivery of a Declarations of War and the lack of an obvious authority to speak on behalf of that nation regarding negociation, as was the protocol established by European nations in waging war for the acquisition of territory in Europe..