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People hunted buffalo for hundreds of years. They rode horses, sold meat, and evaluated each other by their hunting skills. Nowadays, the government prohibits shooting these animals without a good reason, but local Aboriginal people continue to hunt, and they want this tradition to be respected. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the impact of buffalo hunting on indigenous people.
The right of Indigenous people to hunt animals has become one of the most important issues in modern Australian society. The persistence of Indigenous people has provoked considerable interest among scientists in the impact of buffalo hunting on the development of the Australian tribes. Nowadays, coastal communities try to achieve collaborative agreements that will support their historical title rights. Robinson (2016) claims that “Australian courts have established that native title is grounded in the history of Indigenous peoples, their legal systems, and their connections to their traditional land” (355).
Coastal zones are still the center of Indigenous people’s activities and identity. The sea is a permanent symbol of stability and freedom, whereas land bears the signs of colonial life. From this point of view, the savage buffalo hunting tribes living at the seashore are in direct opposition to the civil agrarian society.
Throughout the centuries Indigenous people have created rights, relationships, and responsibilities to animals that serve as unwritten laws in tribes. The stories of buffalo hunting allow us to explore the culture and households of Aboriginal families.
Buffalo has many names in different tribes. It plays a very important role in Aboriginal mythology. Many tribes believe that one of the greatest creatures called ‘Rainbow Serpent’ exists in this world in the form of a buffalo (Macdougall and St-Onge 22).
All elements of ancient tribe households were intertwined with each other. Clothes, tools, and weapons had multiple meanings. They were used simultaneously for practical reasons and magical rites. Therefore, the buffalo hunt is still closely connected with ancestral songs, stories, and paintings. Tribe members tell that hunting a buffalo is a means of communication between people and land (Dubois and Saunders 54).
When British settlers started to colonize Australia, they regarded Indigenous hunter-gatherers as parasites, who cannot create food by themselves but only take it from nature. This view is opposite to one of the Aboriginal people. They include gathering and buffalo hunting in the complex circle of life. For the hunt is an irreplaceable element of their rites and traditions. Tribes value and respect their resources and land because their lives are dependent on them.
Indigenous people lived at the shore and hunted buffalo for hundreds of years. The hunt is an irreplaceable part of their being because it completes the complex circle of life. The rights, relationships, and responsibilities of the tribes are closely connected to the buffalo hunt as it shaped out the traditions. Tribal songs, wall paintings, and stories reflect great buffalo hunts of the past. People see the buffalo hunt as a means of communication between humans and land. The mythology of Indigenous tribes reflects buffalo as a mystical creature called “Rainbow Serpent”. Nowadays, the government prohibits extensive buffalo hunting, but for Indigenous people, it is a tradition that they cannot abandon. All this speaks strongly for reformation in modern Australian society and relations between peoples. Hunting cannot be prohibited completely, but it might be limited in time and space.
Dubois, Janique, and Kelly Saunders. “Rebuilding Indigenous Nations through Constitutional Development: A Case Study of the Métis in Canada.” Nations and Nationalism, 2017.
Macdougall, Brenda, and Nicole St-Onge. “Rooted in Mobility: Metis Buffalo-Hunting Brigades.” Manitoba History, no. 71, 2013, pp. 21-33.
Robinson, Cathy J. “Hunting for Country and Culture: the Challenges Surrounding Indigenous Collaborative Partnerships on the Coast of Northern Australia.” The Challenges of Collaboration in Environmental Governance: Barriers and Responses, 2016, pp. 355-370.