Indigeneity, ferality, and what 'belongs' in the Australian bush: Aboriginal responses to 'introduced'animals and plants in a settler-descendant society

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Abstract

This article investigates responses among Aboriginal people in Australia to animals and plants introduced through the process of British colonization. While there is some rejection of exotic species as emblematic of European dispossession, the article explores cases where certain fauna and flora have been embraced intellectually within Aboriginal cultural traditions. The broader discussion canvasses links in Australia between ideas of 'nativeness' in society and nature. If Indigenous people have incorporated non-native species, what are the implications for an Australian identity defined substantially in terms of 'native' landscapes? The article considers the significance of non-native nature for flexible constructions of cultural belonging among Aboriginal people in a post-colonial society. The concept of 'emergent autochthony' is proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)628-646
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
Volume14
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Aug 2008
Externally publishedYes

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