Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Traditional Owners?

I have used my new library card well in searching out some of the indigenous history around the Bright area. The Aboriginal group most connected to the Ovens and King Valleys was the Minjambuttu people. They, like the six other identified indigenous people groups of the region, cared for this land, and never exploited its natural bounty in self-interest. In this they unknowingly (or better perhaps, intrinsically or intuitively) fulfilled the biblical injunction to take responsibility and be good stewards of God's gift of creation (Genesis 1:28). It appears that smallpox epidemics in 1830 and again in 1848 accounted for these people; according to Josephine Flood, in her book Man and Ecology in the Highlands of South-Eastern Australia (1976), "Aborigines had completely disappeared from these upland regions by the end of last century". We know that Australia's indigenous peoples had an immune system unable to ward off virulent diseases introduced from the northern hemisphere.

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