Friday, July 29, 2011

White Laws ...

In one early session of my Social and Environment subject in grade 4, we discussed 'Famous People' with their so-called 'beliefs'. The three famous people selected were Mother Teresa, Ian Kiernan, and Eddie Mabo. The discussion then led me to talk a bit about the history of Australia. :)

Everybody knows Mother Teresa and her love for all human beings in the whole world, especially the needy. Her deep belief in her God was represented in a way that she devoted her life for those who need help. Different from Mother Teresa, Ian Kiernan as an environmentalist deeply believes that we all are to live in a clean environment so that we are not to litter everywhere: waterways, rivers, harbor, bla bla bla ... Meanwhile, Eddie Mabo who is also from Australia, was struggling against 'White Laws'.

"What is white law, Miss?" my grade 4 students asked.

In the book it was already explained that during the white colonization over Australia, the white issued their own laws saying that all lands in this smallest continent belonged to no one. It meant everybody -- those new comers from other countries, mainly Britain -- could claim any land they coveted to be theirs. They did not respect the rights of the native descendents, the aborigins.

For further information about Eddie Mabo, just click here
�My very young students found it difficult to understand, though. Therefore, as an example, I told them the history of how the early settlers migrated from Britain to the east coast of America (since I am not quite familiar with the history of Australia, but I learned about American History): how those early settlers moved from their native country to the new land to get better life, to get freedom to adhere the religion they believed in; but then they called the native uncivilized only due to different way of life, different way of thinking, etc.

At this point, one student whose dad is Australian was speechless because apparently his grandma told him that the aborigins were uncivilized since they once came to the grandma's house to steal. He got more dumbfounded when I told the class that many centuries ago, many poor people from Britain were 'sent' to America, while criminals from the same country were sent to Australia.

C-net, 10.25 300711

More on Ian Kiernan, click this this.

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