I have never seen a rabbit proof fence, nor do I have a need for one. Rabbits are not a problem in America like they are in Australia. When the rabbit was introduced in Australia, they had no natural predators. Thus, they bred like crazy. In an attempt (among many others) to control this problem, the Australian government attempted to keep them out of agricultural areas of the country by creating a fence. It was a failed attempt. This is only one of many problems caused by the European settlers to the land in Australia.
Unfortunately, there is one problem the Europeans caused that trumps all the others. It is called the "Stolen Generation". We watched a movie in class on Friday about the stolen generation called Rabbit Proof Fence. It is a true story about three girls who are ripped from their mothers and taken to a children's home run by a church organization. The girls escape from the home and face the dangerous journey back to find their mothers. They are able to survive on the rough terrain because their mothers taught them from a young age how to survive in the bush. (An aboriginal child can fend for his or herself in the bush by the age of 8!) Instead of giving away the end of the movie, I encourage you to rent it and find out what it is all about!
After the movie, we were privileged to have two people from the stolen generation come speak to us. I was unable to speak after hearing their stories. I sat outside the classroom thinking about how awful it must have been to be taken away from my parents on the sole basis of their skin color. The man who came to speak was taken away from his father while his father was fighting for the Australian Army in WWII. A veteran of two wars could not have his children after returning from the battlefield. He told us of the injustices done to him as a child and how that affected the rest of his life. He did not have anyone to depend on. As this frail, old man was brought to tears, my heart was outraged at the injustice.
It is easy for me to sit here and say that this kind of cultural bias should stop. It was obviously attempted genocide. The theory was that through taking the Aboriginals from their homes and putting them with "white" Australians, they would eventually become part of the European culture and eventually would be a forgotten race. However, I rarely think about the injustices done to the Native Americans in America. Sure, I can get angry about something that happened on the other side of the world, but can I admit that there was the same type of mentality in the country I love the most? This class session helped me realize that it is important to acknowledge injustice even if it does not affect me daily. If I expect other people to join with me when I feel discriminated against, I should show the same respect. As a response to my current studies of indigenous culture and heritage, I want to find out about the native culture around my home. I think learning about the original inhabitants will help me appreciate the land and maybe learn more about myself along the way!