VARIOUS TEXTS: Aboriginals: Foreigners in their own land? By David Akinsanya (Abi GK)

Text I: Aboriginals: Foreigners in their own land?
by David Akinsanya

The following text was broadcast on BBC Two on Thursday, 8 July 2004. It deals with aspects of Aboriginal life.

Gail's life is a daily grind; her husband is in jail and she survives on government handouts.
She doesn't have a home of her own, so spends her time staying with family and friends.
This isn't unusual within the culture she comes from. With no permanent home or fixed routine it's difficult to get the girls to attend school regularly. It's the same story with many other Aboriginal kids.

The Block is made up of a few inner-city streets that were handed over to Aboriginals in the 1970s to run and manage themselves. The government of the day bought run-down housing stock as a first step towards giving the indigenous population the chance to determine their own affairs. But the experiment hasn't exactly been a great success.

My taxi dropped me outside Redfern train station. I'd asked the driver to take me to The Block but he told me he preferred to stop on the main road as taxis are targeted there. I was anxious about what I was going to find. Despite having been to many run-down areas all over the world I didn't know what to expect from The Block - or its people.

Outside the station, watching over the shabby main street were two police officers standing in the baking sun. The police were a permanent fixture during my five-week stay here. My first glimpse of the notorious Block was a group of men and women, some obviously worse for drink, taking cover from the sun under a few trees. They were sitting on crates, cardboard and an assortment of broken chairs, drinking beer and smoking cigarettes. One man was on his back and seemed to be semi-conscious. (…)

It may have been shocking but it certainly wasn't as dangerous as people had made out. They were warm, friendly and everyone shook my hand as they introduced themselves. My anxieties evaporated. (…)

Just before I left Sydney I went to the opening of the new Redfern community centre. It was ironic that at the launch, the organisers had to bring in didgeridoo players from outside to entertain the guests. There were no local Aboriginals who could provide this service. It is also ironic that I was unable to find Aboriginal handicraft made in Australia. Tourists are going home with boomerangs made in China.

(388 words)

Source: This World: The Boy from The Block was broadcast on BBC Two on Thursday, 8 July 2004 (online)

Text II: Arme Krieger von Eva Schweitzer

Häuptlinge am Rande der amerikanischen Gesellschaft – ein Besuch im Reservat der Sioux- Indianer

SOUTH DAKOTA. Neben einem kaputten, umgekippten Auto am Straßenrand steht ein junger Mann und trampt. Ein Sioux-Krieger. Er sieht nicht wirklich wie ein Krieger aus. Abgekämpft schon. Er heißt Ed. Und er trampt, weil er kein Geld für Benzin hat – rund achtzig Cent kostet der Liter an der Shell-Tankstelle im Reservat der Sioux. Beim näheren Hinsehen ist Ed doch nicht so jung. Vierzig vielleicht, stämmig, kurze, schwarze Haare, es fehlen ihm ein paar Zähne. Er hat gestern seine Frau ins Krankenhaus gebracht, nach Rapid City, hundert Meilen vom Pine-Ridge-Reservat entfernt. Er sagt, dass er sehr müde ist, er trampe seit dem frühen Morgen. Und jetzt muss er zur Arbeit in einem Schnellimbiss in Pine Ridge, dem Ort, der dem Reservat seinen Namen gab. Ed hat gleich drei dieser schlecht bezahlten Jobs im Reservat, so ist sein Leben als Sioux.

Hier im amerikanischen Bundesstaat South Dakota siedeln noch knapp dreitausend Lakota- Indianer. Sie bilden einen der sieben Stämme der Sioux. Die Ländereien ihres Reservats sind karg bewachsen, es gibt eiskalte Winter mit Schneestürmen und heiße Sommer, in denen es monatelang nicht regnet. Die meisten Indianer leben in Wellblechhütten oder aufgebockten Wohnmobilen, einige davon haben weder Wasser noch Strom. 5870 Dollar jährlich verdient ein Lakota im Schnitt, Pine Ridge ist einer der ärmsten Kreise der Vereinigten Staaten. Die Arbeitslosigkeit liegt bei 75 Prozent. Das ist die Gegenwart.

(224 Wörter)

Quelle: Berliner Zeitung, Online-Ausgabe, 03.01.2000

Work on four tasks altogether.
Tasks 1, 2 and 3 are compulsory. Choose one task from 4.

1 Give a brief account of the living conditions of the Aboriginals and the attempts by the Australian government to improve them, as shown by David Akinsanya. Do not write more than 100 words. (15 %)

2 Show how Akinsanya’s way of writing engages the reader’s interest in the topic and in the lives of the people depicted in Text I. (25 %)

3 Mediation
For a project on native peoples sum up what the above German text says about the living conditions of the Lakota. (20 %)

4 A Compare the efforts of the Australian government to improve the living conditions of Aboriginals with more successful attempts to better the situation of one or two minority groups in another English-speaking country. Refer to Text I and additional material you are familiar with. (40 %)

4 B “Foreigners in their own land?” - Referring to Texts I and II and a literary work or film you are familiar with, discuss and illustrate what it means for a person to feel foreign in his / her surroundings. (40%)

4 C You have to write an introduction to an English-speaking radio show on indigenous peoples. In your introduction analyse how their traditions and the demands of modern life influence their lives. Base your introduction on Texts I and II as well as on factual and / or fictional material you are familiar with. (40 %)

You are expected to write at least at least 500 words in 240 minutes.

Source: Berlin: Senatsverwaltung f. Bildung, Wissenschaft und Forschung

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