The Land is our History: Indigenous claims and the transformation of the settler state

When:27 Oct 2015, 12:30pm - 2pm
Venue:Morven Brown 209, UNSW (Map Ref: C20)
Who:Dr Miranda Johnson, University of Sydney
Miranda Johnson

History Seminar Series


In the late 1960s, indigenous activists in the settler colonial world were fighting for survival. In a parallel story to civil rights and anti-colonial activism across the globe, indigenous peoples chose a daring strategy for bringing their demands to the fore of public debate in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. They went to the courts to demand land rights in the form of native title. They held states to account for treaty promises made but not upheld. Activists hoped that the recognition of distinctive land and treaty rights would help them to protect and revitalize communal identity. In this paper, I examine the stakes and strategies of indigenous claims-making through a series of connected legal cases in the three settler states. As I argue, activists changed the terms of indigeneity and of national identity in these countries. Yet they also invited the fixing of their own identities.

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