Anthropology and the resolution of native title claims: Presentation to the Federal Court Judicial Education Forum

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapter

Abstract

This collection arose from a workshop for anthropologists in July 2010, Turning
the Tide: Anthropology for Native Title in South-East Australia. Held at Sydney
University and co-convened by the University of Sydney and the Native Title
Research Unit, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Studies, the workshop addressed issues of native title anthropology in what is
often referred to as ‘settled’ Australia. In these areas, native title — as a form
of justice and recognition for indigenous peoples — has proven a particularly
frustrating experience. The title of the workshop recalled the various Yorta Yorta
native title decisions in Victoria, and Olney J’s quoting of Justice Brennan in
Mabo (No 2) (1992, at [60]): ‘when the tide of history has washed away any real
acknowledgement of traditional law and any real observance of traditional
customs, the foundation of native title has disappeared’.

Modelling the connection of native title claimants to their land in ways that are
acceptable to the adversarial native title context is a challenge for native title
anthropologists. They are faced with embedded and static notions of tradition
that fly in the face of at least half a century of national and international
anthropological debates and theory, but which have received little attention in
the native title sector. The book includes issues such as naming of groups, the
significance of descent from deceased forebears, the constitution of society,
ways of approaching Aboriginal land tenure, processes of group exclusion and
inclusion, changing laws and customs, and the scale of native title groups. [from back cover]
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnsettling anthropology: The demands of native title on worn concepts and changing lives
EditorsToni Bauman, Gaynor Macdonald
Place of PublicationCanberra, ACT, Australia
PublisherNative Title Research Unit, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
Chapter8
Pages142-149
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9780987135339
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

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