Whose Country? Native Title and Authenticity in Rock Art Research

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review


Aboriginal peoples’ connection to their ancestral homelands is recognised by Federal Law through a legal process known as ‘Native Title’. The first successful Native Title claim in the 1990s invalidated the dogma of terra nullius – that Australia was an empty land before European colonisation. Despite the positive consequences of this recognition, the legal and regulatory processes still pose many challenges for native title holders, contemporary Aboriginal communities, and researchers working with Aboriginal knowledge holders. Maintaining authenticity in the post-native title era, both for communities and for the rock art sites for which they are custodians, is highly complex. This paper discusses some of these issues in northwest Australia, based on our experiences during the development of a conservation management plan for the Port Hedland rock engraving sites.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPerspectives on Differences in Rock Art
EditorsJan Magne Gjerde, Mari Strifeldt Arntzen
Place of PublicationUK
PublisherEquinox Publishing Ltd
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781781799192
ISBN (Print)9781781795606
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2021


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