‘Abandonment’ or maintenance of country? A critical examination of mobility patterns and implications for Native Title

issue paper cover
Apr, 2003
Editor/s: 
Product type: 
Issues paper
Volume title: 
‘Abandonment’ or maintenance of country? A critical examination of mobility patterns and implications for native title
Volume number: 
2:22

In this paper, Dr Veth argues that global studies of patterns of mobility amongst hunter gatherer groups illustrate that it is normal for groups to practice different kinds of ‘abandonment’ through time. This can occur at the varying geographic levels of residence, locality, region or indeed territory and can cover periods of time lasting from a ‘season’ through to a generation. The major theme to emerge from these studies is that despite physically leaving sites, tracts of land or indeed a territory for a period of time, groups actively maintain connections to those places through a variety of means. The central question that arises for Native Title is to what extent these well-documented and long-term historic processes should recalibrate the threshold for continuity of occupation and use of country. Thus Dr Veth asks, if temporary ‘abandonment’ of country in the past – for a myriad of reasons – did not break down the social institutions for maintenance of connection, then why should it do so in the contemporary context?

Journal title: 
Land, rights, laws: Issues of Native Title
Last reviewed: 17 Jul 2017