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Eddie Mabo, the Indigenous Land Father - Essay Example

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Eddie Mabo was an Australian man who played a crucial role in the recognition of the right of the indigenous people to own the land in the country. He was born in the Torres Strait Islands in 1936 and was one of his fundamental beliefs that the land upon which he was born belonged to him and his people…
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Eddie Mabo, the Indigenous Land Father
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Eddie Mabo, the Indigenous Land Father

For almost a decade, this man fought for the rights of his people by taking a case to court with the intention of having it overturn the terra nullius land system in Australia, which alienated the indigenous people from their land. The sheer determination of this man, against all odds, ensured that he had one of the greatest wins in Australian history for an indigenous person, because the ruling made, overturning the terra nullius system, ensured that over three hundred years of injustice had almost come to an end (Pannell and Vachon 2001, p.238). The overturning of this system further granted the indigenous people the confidence of identifying themselves with the land of their ancestors and ensured that their right to it was recognized beyond doubt. Eddie Mabo was a man who rose from humble origins as a gardener to becoming one of the national icons of Australia because of the fact that he was deeply involved in fighting for the rights of his people.
While he was born in the Torres Strait Islands, Mabo spent most of his life in Queensland, and was in fact not a well-known figure in his home island until after he took his case on indigenous land rights to court. It was only after his death from cancer as well as the court victory over the land issue five months later that his fellow indigenous people on the island welcomed his as one of their own. His victory did not only affect the people of his home island but also all the indigenous people of Australia and this is the reason why Mabo has become one of the most respected men among them (Burke 2007, p.240). The idea that an indigenous person could almost singlehandedly challenge the Australian status quo and gain a great victory from it was one of those instances which were unheard of in the history of this country. The indigenous people had long been suppressed by the colonial government, and later by the white settlers who dominated and continue to dominate almost every aspect of life in Australia (Furniss 2001, p.279). Mabo’s posthumous court victory ensured that the indigenous people were recognized as a legitimate part of the Australian population with the same rights as those who dominated the society (Thorner 2009, p.391). Furthermore, it may have played a role in the recognition of indigenous people as reasoning human beings who had, throughout the history of the colonization of Australia had been treated unfairly; the court case was therefore the first step in correcting the injustice done to them (Reilly 2000, p.23). The overturning of the terra nullius policy can be said to be, in reality, a policy of inclusion whose purpose is to ensure that all the Australian people have an equal chance to compete in making their dreams and aspirations come true. Previously, indigenous groups were completely excluded from the majority of economic activities in Australia except for those which were considered to be labour intensive (Nettheim 2008 p.167). Moreover, these groups were rarely ever accepted in the mainstream Australian life, therefore, Mabo’s court victory can be said to have been a step towards the inclusion of the indigenous people into the centre of Australian society. From the very beginning of the Mabo’s case in court, there has been opposition towards it with those against it stating that it is giving an unfair advantage to minority ... Read More
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