Australian Aboriginal Studies Journal

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Australian Aboriginal Studies Issue 1, 2019

Australian Aboriginal Studies Issue 1, 2019Editor: Dr Lawrence Bamblett

Australian Aboriginal Studies is an interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal promoting high-quality research in Australian Indigenous studies, with a focus on the humanities and social sciences. It is published for a wide audience in both print and digital form, and visual content is encouraged.

Individuals, organisations and students can subscribe to Australian Aboriginal Studies. Standing orders are available for organisations.

You can access individual papers online via Informit.

Major articles

Photostory and relatedness methodology: the beginning of an Aboriginal–Kanaka Maoli research journey (part two)

Jessa Rogers

Abstract: This paper outlines how an Aboriginal researcher approached international indigenous research based on indigenous research practices and principles, indigenous worldview and Country-based ontologies. It follows on from part one (Rogers 2018), published in the previous issue of this journal, which discusses how relatedness functions as a methodology in collaborative indigenous work and how photostory, a modified version of the method termed ‘photoyarn’, was developed specifically for Kanaka Maoli young people attending boarding school with noho. This paper is written to AIATSIS style guidelines and, as such, capitalises Indigenous for the Australian context only.

Designing the Warramiri website: a bala-räli bothways duoethnography from the Yolŋu homeland of Gäwa

Kathy (Gotha) Guthadjaka and Ben van Gelderen

Abstract: Technologies play an important role in the intergenerational transmis­sion of Yolŋu languages and culture, but can digital development incorporate Yolŋu cosmological and epistemological frameworks? Despite the pressures of an increasingly standardised Australian Curriculum, the Yolŋu Indigenous Warramiri community at Gäwa in remote Northern Territory continues to pursue an ‘on coun­try’ homeland and intercultural ‘bothways’ philosophy of education. In this paper, we outline some of the bala-räli (backwards and forwards) discussions and negotia­tions from 2009–15, as a form of duoethnography that culminated in the design of the Warramiri website to support such a bothways philosophy.

Combatting racism to create a better Australia: the potential of the national cross-curriculum priority of teaching Aboriginal histories and cultures

Adam Heaton

Abstract: The need for anti-racism education in Australia is evident in the regu­lar incidents of racism experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. By not providing an alternative discourse to the racism in society, students leave school carrying into their employment and other spheres of adult life the prejudices they have developed. Although teaching against racism is not directly addressed in the new Australian curriculum, the teaching of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures has been made a cross-curriculum priority. This paper examines the potential for the national cross-curriculum priority — and particularly the facilitation of a positive discourse about Aboriginal cultures, histo­ries and achievements — to achieve anti-racism learning outcomes. It explores how a program of learning, co-designed with an Aboriginal Elder and educator, moved students to imagine the experiences of Aboriginal peoples, and, as a result, drop prejudices and adopt more positive thoughts and feelings towards them.

Indigenous experiences of higher education — the role of the ANU Tjabal Indigenous Higher Education Centre

Zuzanna Kruk-Buchowska and Asmi Wood

Abstract: This paper analyses the role that the Tjabal Indigenous Higher Education Centre at the Australian National University (ANU) plays in the university experi­ence of Indigenous students and the sense of Indigenous community that it creates. It highlights the importance of Indigenous students’ perspectives on Indigenous education and achieving population parity of Indigenous students and the faculty at ANU. The paper considers what Tjabal does to make ANU less of a white man’s institution and to enhance its students’ value as Indigenous people. The paper finds that Tjabal plays a vital role in the students’ educational experience at ANU, helps them deal with the difficulties of transition to university, and helps increase Indigenous students’ retention and graduation rates. Relationality, which is impor­tant to Indigenous communities in Australia, is translated into the students’ univer­sity experiences, thereby alleviating cultural effacement. However, the paper also finds that more could be done to encourage students to pursue higher degrees.

Mine closure and the Aboriginal estate

Ciaran O’Faircheallaigh and Rebecca Lawrence

Abstract: Numerous large mines located on Australia’s Aboriginal estate are in the process of ceasing production or will do so in the coming decade. Mine closure raises issues of enormous environmental, cultural, social and environmental signifi­cance for Aboriginal traditional owners, but these issues have to date received little systematic attention, unlike the question of whether mines should be established in the first place, or the impact on Aboriginal peoples and on country of operating mines. The commonly used term ‘mine closure’ belies the fact that mining projects continue to have impacts for decades, and in some cases for generations, after mineral extraction ceases. We highlight this reality, drawing on theoretical insights that stress the persistence of mine legacies and placing them in the context of wider debates about environmental and social justice. We illustrate continuing ‘post-closure’ impacts on traditional owners and the Aboriginal estate. These impacts are unlikely to be addressed through Australia’s entirely inadequate regulatory system for mine rehabilitation, or through negotiated Aboriginal–industry agreements, many of which fail to deal with closure issues. Against this background we high­light the need for systematic research on the effects of mine closure on Aboriginal peoples in Australia; for a radical overhaul of Australia’s regulatory system, in part to afford a central role to Aboriginal traditional owners; and for mine closure to be afforded a substantial focus in future agreements governing the development of new mines on the Aboriginal estate.

Research report

Pitjantjatjara language change: some observations and recommendations

Makinti Minutjukur, Katrina Tjitayi, Umatji Tjitayi and Rebecca Defina

Abstract: Pitjantjatjara is often regarded as a robust language with more than 3000 speakers, including children, across a range of communities. Nevertheless, the language has been affected by colonialism and many community members are concerned about language change. In this paper, Aṉangu educators from Pukatja/Ernabella work together with a non-Indigenous linguist to survey changes we have noticed in the language and to make recommendations for the future. We report changes in pronunciation, grammar and the ways the language is used. In some cases, these changes result directly from contact between languages or other changes in the cultural setting of people speaking Pitjantjatjara today. We see these as winds of change that are sweeping across the language and call for the construc­tion of a windbreak to protect Pitjantjatjara language and culture to keep it strong for future generations.

Book reviews

Bain Attwood
The good country: the Djadja Wurrung, the settlers and the protectors
(Reviewed by Kathy Lothian)

Nicholas Peterson and Anna Kenny (eds)
German ethnography in Australia
(Reviewed by Martin Porr)

Last reviewed: 17 Jul 2019