Indigenous Relationality: Women, Kinship and the Law

Patricia Dudgeon, Abigail Bray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Web of Science)


Strong female governance has always been central to one of the world's oldest existing culturally diverse, harmonious, sustainable, and democratic societies. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women's governance of a country twice the size of Europe is based on complex laws which regulate relationships to country, family, community, culture and spirituality. These laws are passed down through generations and describe kinship systems which encompass sophisticated relations to the more-than-human. This article explores Indigenous kinship as an expression of relationality, culturally specific and complex Indigenous knowledge systems which are founded on a connection to the land. Although Indigenous Australian women's kinships have been disrupted through dispossession from the lands they belong to, the forced removal of their children across generations, and the destruction of their culture, community and kinship networks, the survival of Indigenous women's knowledge systems have supported the restoration of Indigenous relationality. The strengthening of Indigenous women's kinship is explored as a source of social and emotional wellbeing and an emerging politics of environmental reproductive justice.
Original languageEnglish
Article number23
Number of pages11
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


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