Colonization on Indigenous Communities
Indigenous communities survive a long history of significant influence of the colonial rulers. In the contemporary space, some think that the indigenous communities to have undergone significant resistant and struggle in the hands of the colonialists. While most communities consider colonialism to have brought considerable losses that are central to healing in the current world, some see it as a source of opportunities that opened the indigenous communities to the outside world. The variability in the view of the influence of colonialism to the indigenous communities translates to realm also referred to as de-colonization that can be achieved through negotiation between the colonizer and the colonized (Suzack, Cheryl 87). Therefore, the following essay that forms the final part of the study focuses on the ways in which colonization influenced the indigenous or aboriginal communities across the world. The study adopts different perspectives to create significance of the topic in the current contemporary society.
Prior to the arrival of the colonialists, indigenous communities were on a similar level with those of the country considered developed in the current global environment. From the end of the 16th century, most of the indigenous communities across the world witnessed significant waves of colonization, struggling to maintain their norms, and employing different strategies to compete with the forces of the colonialists to ensure their sustainability. Significant evidence from various texts such as those from Kelm (63) and Hogan, Patrick Colm (201) show that indigenous communities were at the scene of what is considered as a rich diversified system of cultures prior to the arrival of the colonialists. Despite the geographical location of different communities, the shared culture formed a binding structure that ensures social cohesion among them. However, the arrival of the colonialists resulted in the disintegration of the culture that bonded different communities. As such, it led to the loss of the cohesion that brought these communities together, affecting the structure of the indigenous communities.
Different communities have different mechanisms of ensuring maintenance of their norms, values, customs, and culture. Among the mechanisms is the oral tradition that was used by the indigenous communities to depict their existence. The advent of colonialism led to a loss of popularity of the use of the oral traditions such as narratives causing a decline in the meaning of different community values that contributed to the building of the indigenous communities. Similarly, Gann (17) argues that the indigenous communities observed the law of ensuring the hospitality prior to the arrival of colonialists than the present times. Violation of such was considered a crime. When these communities displayed their hospitality to the colonialists, the colonialists failed to recognize its value. Rather, they interpreted the hospitality as subservience that failed to conform to their superiority. As such, their arrival resulted in significant resistance from the indigenous communities as evidenced by revolts against the colonialists (Hogan, Patrick Colm 201).
In addition, significant evidence shows that indigenous communities were affected significantly by the arrival of the colonialists as evidenced by their adoption of strategies to manage the demands of the colonialists. They also altered their interests to accommodate those of the colonialists leading to a change in lifestyle among the indigenous populations. In some instances, “contact” relationship between the indigenous communities and the colonialists let to the establishment of mutually beneficial alliances that promoted the identification of better ways of executing community activities. For example, indigenous communities such as Tadoussac and Montagnais as stated by Hogan, Patrick Colm (302) found lucrative opportunities by relating to the French colonialists that led to the identification of new living standards such as farming among the indigenous communities.
Happle (32) observes that following the adoption of different Acts in different parts of the world such as Royal Proclamation Act of 1763 (Canada) resulted in the eviction of the indigenous communities from their native lands. The era of peaceful coexistence that ranges between 17th and the 19th century saw a significant change in the nature of colonialism in countries colonized earlier as compared to those colonized during this period. For example, a number of treaties were signed to protect the indigenous communities from exploitation from the colonialists. Therefore, it implies that the indigenous communities faced significant mistreatment at the hands of the colonialists promoting the signing of treaties that aimed at protecting them. For example, the women from the indigenous communities faced significant challenges such as a violation of their human rights; hence, the revolts and resistance experienced during such period (Gann 47).
Moreover, indigenous communities that were displaced include those in the Australia experienced challenges such as killed by diseases unfamiliar to them and food shortage affecting their health and health outcomes. Indigenous communities that did not engage in activities such as farming were forced to new lifestyles limiting their abilities to meet the needs of their daily living. Community members who survived such treatment were forced into slavery and forced labor leading to the distinction of some indigenous communities. The arrival of the colonialists saw the introduction of new policies, activist organizations, and social movements that were considered contrary to the expectations of the indigenous communities. The changes resulted in increased protests from the indigenous communities that were accompanied by the loss of lives and property (Menzies, Peter 124).
It is beyond doubt that the introduction of colonialism that led to resistance from the indigenous communities occurred due to the effects of changes in their traditional theories. For instance, the introduction of new policies on land use in different communities across the world resulted in a change in land ownership; hence, resistance from the indigenous communities. The settlement systems introduced by the colonialists also had a significant effect on the co-existence of the indigenous communities. The changes in the land policies as seen in the settlement systems brought by the colonialists led to the loss in the culture disadvantaging the aboriginal communities. Traditionally, the authority over the land use among the indigenous communities was pegged on the customary laws. However, the arrival of the colonialists led to an alteration in the authority of the land use; hence, changes in their lifestyle, resistance, and behavioral change among the members of the aboriginal communities (Happle 54).
The extent of past dislocation and disposition of the indigenous communities brought by the colonialists is well documented. In specific, the current states of poverty in most of the organization’s roots to the influence of the colonialism witnessed during the earlier centuries. McDermott (187) recognizes that the poverty resulted from their deprivation of their daily needs leading to poverty. Before the arrival of the colonizers, the indigenous women were strong, hardworking, economically dependent, and actively involved in activities contributing to the well being of the community. However, the arrival of the colonizers changes the traditional lifestyles of the indigenous women to become cater for their families rather than contributing to the needs of the society (Hogan, Patrick 201).
The colonizers brought word of the gospel to the indigenous communities across the world. The missionaries condemned the traditional ways of the indigenous communities, altering their traditional and religious ways. The missionaries also attacked the ways of life of the aboriginal women exemplifying their autonomy and independence. In addition, the indigenous communities benefited from the colonizers through the introduction of education to the communities. The colonizers introduced education to the indigenous communities as a form of ensuring their enlightenment and improvement in their quality of lives (Kelm, Mary 95).
Moreover, it is inarguable that colonizers brought stratification in the indigenous communities, affecting their co-existence and realization of their community objectives. According to McDermott (89), the arrival of colonizers such as the British to the indigenous communities resulted in the emergence of new diseases in these communities. The settlement of the colonizers in these communities led to the appearance of European diseases such as chickenpox, measles, influenza, smallpox, and measles that were new to the indigenous communities.
In addition, most of these diseases were more severe among the indigenous communities as compared to the colonizers. When the colonizers arrived, they drove away the residents of the aboriginal communities from their lands with the pretext of their inability to utilize the available fertile lands. Consequently, it led to the loss of land by the aboriginal communities (Kelm 221).
Significant analysis also shows that the colonizers introduced undesired behaviors that affected the lifestyle and the health outcomes of the aboriginal communities. For example, the British colonialists introduced drinking of alcohol in their colonial territories that affected their health status significantly. Colonizers also invaded, subjugated, and dispossessed the ownership of the aboriginal communities. These acts disintegrated the structure of the communities, culture, and ways of life; hence, the effects of the colonization (Menzies, Peter 77).
In summary, colonization had a significant effect on the indigenous communities. It resulted in a change in the traditional communities, including the behavior of its members affecting the health and health outcomes of the aboriginal communities. Colonization also resulted in a change in land ownership, introduction of new diseases, and undesired social stratification that affected the lifestyle of the indigenous communities. Similarly, colonization has positive impacts to the indigenous communities. Such include introduction of education, new farming techniques, and technology in the execution of different activities within the community, thereby, contributing to their well-being. Therefore, as much as most consider colonization to have contributed negatively to the indigenous communities, positive contributions should also be appreciated.
Gann, Lewis H., and Peter Duignan. Colonialism in Africa, 1870-1960 [in 4 vols].. London: Cambridge U.P, 1969. Print.
Happle, Robert William. Globalization and the effects of colonialism and modern tourism on the West Indies. New York: Cengage, 2008. Print.
Hogan, Patrick Colm. Colonialism and cultural identity: crises of tradition in the anglophone literatures of India, Africa, and the Caribbean. New York: State University of New York Press, 2000. Print.
Kelm, Mary. Colonizing bodies aboriginal health and healing in British Columbia, 1900-1950. Vancouver: UBC Press, 1998. Print.
Kelm, Mary, and Lorna Townsend. In the days of our grandmothers: a reader in aboriginal women’s history in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2006. Print.
Mcdermott, Robyn, Kerin O’dea, Kevin Rowley, Sabina Knight, and Paul Burgess. “Beneficial impact of the Homelands Movement on health outcomes in central Australian Aborigines.” Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health 22.6 (1998): 653-658. Print.
Menzies, Peter. “Developing an aboriginal Healing Model for Intergenerational Trauma.” International Journal of Health Promotion and Education 46.2 (2008): 41-48. Print.
Suzack, Cheryl. Indigenous women and feminism: politics, activism, culture. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2010. Print.
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