Location: Port Douglas
I have been coming to the Port Douglas/Cairns since 2006. In those last seven years even I have noticed significant changes in the relationship between the native indigenous people and the Australians (I find this distinction to be even more interesting as the aboriginal people were first Australians.) This struggle is similar to what happened in America with native Americans. What do we can the people that immigrated?
I have noticed name changes, dual names, more and more references to the aboriginal people and statements of how use of a particular area is possible with permission of the local tribe. I wonder how much of that is real? How much of it is national or State guilt, and how much of it is for tourism? Finally, how much of it is because of where we are, far north Queensland?
If you have not done so, you should read the history of the aborigine in Australia post-English arrival. It is a history that is not very good. Denial of land rights, forced removal of children from the home, efforts at extermination, all tell a history of violence and denial. Fortunately, in the last forty years there has been a national recognition of this behavior and there have been efforts to ease the plight of the aborigine and return in some cases of what is theirs.
What I have seen in Port Douglas I believe is a sign of that change. There is no longer the appropriation of aboriginal places and things. There seems to be an evolution in at least local society to recognize the place of aboriginal values, beliefs, and traditions.
Perhaps the growth of the “green” movement was a part of this. As I mentioned on another post, there is a strong concern for the environment here. When you consider we are dealing with fragile rain forests and the Great Barrier Reef, you can bet that global warming, pollution, trash, recycling, construction limits, people limits, are all on top of everybody’s agenda.