One-tenth Aboriginal – does that mean the other nine-tenths is disregarded?

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I was recently speaking to someone who had an ancestry DNA test. Her results came back that she has mainly Irish, some middle eastern and a minor percentage of Aboriginal.

She was unaware of this, her heritage, hence the curiosity of the Ancestry DNA test. The difference I witnessed in this woman after results were learned, was astonishing.

She started identifying as Aboriginal. She attended movements and meetings regarding Aboriginal people; she became outspoken as to the plight of Aboriginal people. While I commend her dedication, I found it odd as she had never really been involved or even cared much before finding out her long lost heritage. There was no Aboriginal connection, and it was found that an affair by her great grandmother resulted in a child of darker skin but not dark skin so it was left ignored.

I asked her what she thought of her mainly Irish and English heritage, and she seemed to ignore that. This made we wonder. We have so many people Identifying as Aboriginal, yet they appear white, blond hair and blue eyes many of them. They, of course, may have a distant Aboriginal heritage, but I wonder why they then jump on the “I am Aboriginal” wagon instead of the ‘I am Irish or English’ wagon.

I asked her what the reason was she identified as Aboriginal now even though she has no Aboriginal association except for a distant DNA connection. I applaud her wanting to understand her distant heritage, but I wondered if the DNA test had returned Russian would she then gravitate to drinking Vodka and want to pursue her Russian heritage with such vigour. She had not even bothered to track any middle eastern heritage background as she preferred to ignore this due to ‘the political climate’ she advised.

This woman is a professional person, intelligent, great family, good person. The difference in her now is quiet astounding. Most conversations gravitate toward the unfair treatment of Aboriginal people. She talks now like she grew up in an Aboriginal squalor, was treated badly, has the world of white Australians against her. Mind you this woman grew up in an affluent family, went to private school and lives a very good life.

I wonder, why gravitate with such vigour to Aboriginal decent while ignoring all other and major parts that make up who you are. I then started taking notice of a number of Aboriginal spokespeople. I was curious of how many had major Aboriginal heritage or if they had a tiny amount like my friend.  Were they always aware of their heritage, were they connected to the Aboriginal community and why do they call themselves Aboriginal when a small percentage of their DNA is Indigenous while the major part is European, English, German or Irish; what many of us here are.

One can only wonder why they dismiss most of their heritage and gravitate to the one small part of them labeled Indigenous Aboriginal. I discovered my main heritage is Irish, 90 percent. This does not make me Irish, want to wear green or drink stout. It is interesting but first and foremost I am an Aussie through and through. What if she 50 percent Aboriginal and 50 percent white Australian, would she identify only as Aboriginal. If a person is 25 percent Aboriginal and 75 percent white Australian, do they identify as Aboriginal as well. Many seem to omit completely the other major heritage percentage that makes them who they are. I ask, what about your other percentage or greater percentage? Why not identify with that greater part?

We can only wonder why people choose to do this, especially if they were raised in a white Australian home and family.

I love Australia and all it is. I, like most of us, regret the past actions of those before us toward our Indigenous Australians. What we need to do is forget those labels and all live as Australians. We all love this country. We need to unite not divide.  We come from a variety of different cultures, countries and religions. That is fine. Let us simply all call ourselves Australians and join together to enjoy our country together without continually trying to divide. May we continue to support our Indigenous community members as inclusive, and may we all recognise that people are people regardless of heritage, colour, culture or religion.

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