An Heir to a Tribe’s Culture Ensures Its Language Is Not Forgotten

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Oceania on 2016-04-11 02:11Z by Steven

An Heir to a Tribe’s Culture Ensures Its Language Is Not Forgotten

The Saturday Profile
The New York Times

Michelle Innis

Stan Grant, a Wiradjuri elder, at his home in Narrandera, Australia. Mr. Grant was an author of “A New Wiradjuri Dictionary,” after years of advocating to preserve the Wiradjuri language.
Credit Adam Ferguson for The New York Times

NARRANDERA, AustraliaStan Grant, crudely tattooed in a way that hints at the petty crime and drunken brawls of his youth, clasped gnarly hands across his round belly and murmured: “birrangbirrang, birrangbirrang.”

Mr. Grant had spotted a small kingfisher, or birrangbirrang in Wiradjuri, as it swooped low over the Murrumbidgee River in the oppressive summer heat, calling to its mate.

Slipping back into English, he spoke over the whirring of cicadas in the river red gum trees that line the sandy banks: “It is smaller than a kookaburra. Its mate will be nearby.”

Mr. Grant, 75, is an elder of Australia’s second-largest Aboriginal tribe, the Wiradjuri, who roamed most of central New South Wales before white farmers surged inland in the early 1800s.

Until recently, he was one of only a handful of people still speaking the tribal language, also called Wiradjuri (pronounced wi-RAD-jury), which nearly died out in the 20th century, when Aboriginals could be jailed for speaking their native tongue in public.

“You are nobody without language,” Mr. Grant said. “The world does not respect a person who does not have language.”…

…Mr. Grant was probably 8 or 9 years old the night a local policeman heard his grandfather, Wilfred Johnson, and locked him up. But he does not recall a sense of alarm.

“He was an elegant man,” he said of Mr. Johnson. “He was beautifully dressed, usually in a coat and hat. But he was black. So it wasn’t the first time he had spent the night in jail.”

After the arrest, Mr. Johnson, who spoke seven languages, refused to speak Wiradjuri in public…

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Mixed-race marriages a reflection of multicultural Blacktown

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Oceania on 2015-12-02 20:08Z by Steven

Mixed-race marriages a reflection of multicultural Blacktown

The Daily Telegraph
Surry Hills, New South Wales, Australia

Nick Houghton

Joanne Vella, Editor
Blacktown Advocate

WHEN Stephen Zahra went on a four-week holiday to Vietnam in 2006, little did he know how life changing the trip would be.

His love for Vietnam inspired him to quit his job and move permanently to the southeast east Asian nation.

It was a decision which would lead him to the love of his life, his wife Dao Nguyen, and the start of his present day life back in Australia as a happily married father of daughter Hayley.

Stephen, a second generation Maltese, and Vietnamese Dao are the changing face of Australian families and the multicultural melting pot which is Blacktown.

“Our wedding day in Ho Chi Minh City was probably the biggest reminder how big the mix of cultures is between Dao and myself,” Stephen said.

“My family flew over for the wedding and despite having no ability to speak Vietnamese with Dao’s family found a way to communicate and make the day truly memorable…

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Mixed-Blood Marriage in North-Western New South Wales: A Survey of the Marital Conditions of 264 Aboriginal and Mixed-Blood Women

Posted in Anthropology, Media Archive, Oceania on 2013-01-14 03:18Z by Steven

Mixed-Blood Marriage in North-Western New South Wales: A Survey of the Marital Conditions of 264 Aboriginal and Mixed-Blood Women

Volume 22, Number 2 (December 1951)
pages 116-129

Marie Reay

This survey is based on family records of over 300 aboriginal and mixed-blood women in north-western New South Wales, collected during 1945-6.

The records were obtained through one formal and at least one semi-formal interview with each woman, supplemented by informal conversations and by community gossip. In no case were interview data used without these additional checks, although records of 20 deceased women were included which were obtained from surviving members of their families.

The collection of these records was facilitated by a lively interest in genealogies being retained by the aborigines of this area.

Records of women of indeterminate ethnic background were not used (e.g. one woman whose ancestry included Cingalese and Maltese as well as aboriginal, and some whose aboriginal descent could not be accurately traced). Also, records of women of three-eighth caste (usually classified in census returns as quadroons or half-castes, according to their skin-colour), five-eighth caste (usually dubbed “half-caste”) and seven-eighth caste (usually classified as three-quarter caste or full-blood, according to their skin-colour) were not used for this survey of mixed-blood marriages, although their offspring were included in the final estimate of the composition of the next generation of mixed-bloods.

Of the 264 women whose marriages are examined here, 12 are full-blood, 26 are three-quarter caste, 129 are half-caste, 77 quadroon and 20 octaroon or lighter.

Definition of Terms

Full-blood.   Any person of unmixed aboriginal descent.

Three-quarter Caste. Any person having one white grandparent and three grandparents of unmixed aboriginal descent; i.e. any person of three-quarters aboriginal descent.

Half-caste. A term which is popularly used for any aboriginal mixed-blood but is used here to denote any person with an equal proportion of white and aboriginal ancestry. No distinction is made between a first generation half-caste and the offspring of two half-castes…

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An Estimate of Assimilation Rate of Mixed-Blood Aborigines in New South Wales

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Media Archive, Oceania on 2012-05-28 03:28Z by Steven

An Estimate of Assimilation Rate of Mixed-Blood Aborigines in New South Wales

Volume 32, Number 3 (March, 1962)
pages 187-190

J. Le Gay Brereton

Some anthropologists have suggested that the Aboriginal population of New South Wales (very largely mixed-bloods) will prefer integration to assimilation. It is therefore important to obtain some estimate of the rate of assimilation in recent years (Elkin, 1960; Bell, 1960).

Assimilation here is taken to have occurred if mixed-bloods (1) no longer mix predominantly with mixed-bloods but find their friends as much or more among white Australians ; (2) live in houses typical of white Australians, dispersed among white Australians, at a standard of living like that of white Australians ; and (3) for purposes of census regard themselves as white Australians, and not mixed-blood or Aboriginal Australians.

An estimate of crude birth-rate and death-rate of mixed-bloods was made from published records of Stations in the Reports of the Aboriginal Welfare Board for the years 1944 to 1959. The birth-rates and death-rates were calculated for each year and the variation analysed by the linear regression of these rates on time. No trend was demonstrable for birth-rate, but the death-rate showed a fall which was significant (P<0.01). The average birth-rate and death-rate over the whole period was 41.8748 and 13.2056 per 1,000 persons per year, giving a crude net increase of 28.6692. No countries have a higher rate than this except Mexico (34.0 persons per 1,000 persons per year) (Commonwealth Year Book, 1959). Although it has been shown that the erode death-rate is falling, it will be assumed that the life table is fixed; in this way the population capacity to increase is underestimated. The crude net increase (28.6692) is not an ideal figure for estimating the growth of the population. It would be better to use the true rate of natural increase (Dublin and Lotka, 1925). However, this cannot be calculated owing to the lack of reliable life-tables and age-specific fecundities for the mixed-blood population. Nevertheless calculations were made using various life-tables and age-specific fecundities, and a standard mean length of a generation (28.5 years). These results are set out in Table 1. They show that to obtain a crude birth-rate as high as 23.0 live births per 1,000 persons per year, a population must have a good survival rate, and in contrast to most high age-specific fecundity schedules, high fertility in the 15-19 and 20-24 years age classes.  The crude birth-rate on stations is considerably higher than this,…

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