Yagyl Statue on Heirisson IslandPhoto Credit: Wikipedia/Nachoman-auYagan was killed on 11 July 1833 by two brothers, William and James Keates. The Keates brothers had tricked Yagan into staying with them to avoid arrest, only to shoot him in order to claim the reward for his capture. A group of settlers then beheaded Yagan as a trophy, and his head ended up in Britain. Yagan’s skull was returned to Perth in 1997 and finally laid to rest in Belhus – where the rest of his body is believed to be buried – on 10 July 2010. The ceremony also coincided with the end of NAIDOC (National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee) Week and the opening of Yagan Memorial Park in the Swan Valley.Life for Aboriginal people did not improve in the years following Australia’s federation in 1901. The Noongars were forced to live in “native camps” and abide by curfews. Under the 1905 Aborigines Act, interracial marriages involving Noongars were also illegal unless permission from the Chief Protector of Aborigines was granted. The Chief Protector was also the legal guardian of Aboriginal children in Western Australia until they were 16. This meant children could be removed from their families, a situation depicted in the AFI award winning film Rabbit Proof Fence, which was based on a true story. Children who were taken from Aboriginal families around Australia became known as the Stolen Generations. On 13 February 2008, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd issued an official apology from the Federal Government to the Stolen Generations.In the face of oppression, however, the Noongar people have preserved much of their rich heritage, particularly through visual and performing arts and literature. You can sample some this vibrant culture at various places around Perth. Why not take the Fremantle Aboriginal Heritage Walking Tour or visit the Maalinup Aboriginal Gallery?
Find out more about Yanchep National Park, north of Perth, where you can get a taste of Aboriginal history and heritage.
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