Aborigine vs. Maori

The Aboriginal people and the Maori people are similar in many ways. They both are indigenous people with specific cultures and traditions that helped them to live off the land they were born on. Both peoples had their land invaded by white European settlers but their response to this invasion and the response of the white settlers to the indigenous people they encountered is where the two vastly differ. The Aboriginal people were welcoming to the white settlers that came to Australia and treated with them, believing they were only visiting for a short time and then would leave. Because they did not understand the Europeans’ intent, disease spread through their world and those who were not killed by European diseases faced genocide and massacre at the hands of the white settlers who wanted their land for themselves. The Aboriginal people did not fight back against the settlers but the Maori did. They saw that the Europeans were coming to take their land and refused to give it up. There were a lot of land wars between the New Zealanders and the white settlers because the settlers would break land treaties the two people had agreed upon. These land wars proved what a fierce and protective people the Maori were and showed the European settlers that they were not simply going to stand by and let them destroy their land. This difference can be traced to today’s traditions in each country. In New Zealand I noticed that the Maori language can be seen everywhere along with the English language on signs, in stores, and both are taught in schools. In Australia the Aboriginal people are struggling to hold on to their culture and keep it alive for later generations. Their history seems to be swept under the rug because it is a sad, disturbing part of history but today still it seems they are not treated with the same respect the Maori are given. 

-Jessica

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