Sometimes I feel a bit of tension in the air between the (western) Ozzies and the Indigenous Australians.
Aboriginal people are having a rough time, after all. They have been living on this land for 20 000 years. To some extent, they had better conditions in the past: they had plenty of meat (some from animals now extinct or near extinction), and actually managed food resources and habitats through controlled fires – a craft passed from father to son (more here).
They have a rich culture, and managed to stay in balance with their environment – and with them – until some dozens of years ago, when western influence started to spread across the continent.
They were easy prey for drug and alcohol abuse. Most beggars in Darwin seem to be aboriginal, and I do suspect the money I give to them will probably be used for alcohol. Today, many aboriginal communities experience a range of health, social, and health problems. Government programs tried to combat these issues, and had limited success. For example, when passing certain rural zones, we see some blue signs warning you that you are entering a restricted zone – this means that alcohol and some other substances are strictly forbidden (saw one of these signs when going to Litchfield National Park – more on that later).
They do have a diverse culture – and I hope to see a bit more of that when I go to Kakadu National Park, on one of these weekends.