Aboriginals have always had a strong link between them and the land with the belief of the Dreamtime and the art, symbols, rituals and totems that came with it. After the white settlement, the way in which aboriginals lived their everyday life took a dramatic turn. It had affected their culture for many generations with a disconnection with the land to them. Captain cook arrived to Australia in 1770 and it was believed that there was at least 750 000 Aborigines living in 600 different tribes in Australia.
Aboriginal people formed their own way of living with their isolation of external influences with dreamtime, their religious and spiritual belief. The Aboriginal people believed in terra nullius (meaning ‘land belonging to no one’) and soon after, the Europeans took away terra nullius and claimed to own the land. The European colonial governments started to grant, lease and sell land to white settlers and made money from it. Sacred sites, hunting grounds and food supplies of the Aboriginal people were taken away from them as the European settlers used the land for farming and houses for them to live.
They did not understand the importance of the land to the Aboriginies due to the nomadic lifestyle they live. Due to the dispossession of the Indigenous from their land, the population dramatically declined. Aboriginal people not only died because of their lack of land but because of violent arguments about land rights as well as malnourishment. Aboriginal people had no access to clean water or their traditional food leading them to consume food that they were not used to.
In addition, the Europeans had brought in many diseases and illnesses into the country that the Indigenous peoples had never been exposed to. The Aboriginal people had no immunity to these diseases and they quickly died from things such as influenza. Aboriginal people were forced into government reserves and church run missions where they would live and stay. They were separated from their families and were forbidden from speaking in their language. This had lasted for years and as a result, people lost their culture, language and land.
Once the reserves and missions were full, they had no choice but to close it and the Aboriginal people were forced to live on the outskirts of the cities or in public housing. This was part of the protection policy where the European settlers believed that they were helping the Aboriginal people by showing them the ‘correct’ way to live. The effect of the white settlement towards the Aboriginal people and their land created horrible impacts leaving generations of Indigenous devastated. Their extremely strong connection to the land was lost as they were forced around by the European settlers.