The Dook

the dookThe ways in which Aboriginal people have been portrayed by non-Aboriginal people reflect Euro-centric values and have been largely negative. Strong representations of Aboriginal people and society have developed over time, often classifying individuals as ‘traditional Aborigines’ (those in remote areas), ‘contemporary Aborigines’ (those in regional towns or urban centres like Sydney), and at times more specifically as ‘Aboriginal activists’ (those who voice concerns about the treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people). The politics of these stereotypes and their effects on race relations in places like the city of Sydney began early in the country’s post-invasion history. Aboriginal people were often represented as mysterious and intriguing by white people in positions of power. They saw Aboriginal women as objects, and treated them differently to Aboriginal men, viewing them as ‘feminine delicacy’. Such views of Aboriginal women often reflected more about the European men themselves, than their chosen subjects. The creation of such female images also shows the destructive nature of colonisation when European art, made for a European audience, perpetuated denigrating attitudes to Aboriginal women.