Sovereign Subjects: Indigenous sovereignty matters

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Allen & Unwin, Sep 1, 2007 - Social Science - 256 pages
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Indigenous rights in Australia are at a crossroads. Over the past decade, neo-liberal governments have reasserted their claim to land in Australia, and refuse to either negotiate with the Indigenous owners or to make amends for the damage done by dispossession. Many Indigenous communities are in a parlous state, under threat both physically and culturally.

In Sovereign Subjects some of Indigenous Australia's emerging and well-known critical thinkers examine the implications for Indigenous people of continuing to live in a state founded on invasion. They show how for Indigenous people, self-determination, welfare dependency, representation, cultural maintenance, history writing, reconciliation, land ownership and justice are all inextricably linked to the original act of dispossession by white settlers and the ongoing loss of sovereignty.

At a time when the old left political agenda has run its course, and the new right is looking increasingly morally bankrupt, Sovereign Subjects sets a new rights agenda for Indigenous politics and Indigenous studies.
 

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Contents

Aileen MoretonRobinson
1
Law matters
13
Writing matters
63
History matters
103
Policy matters
153
Notes
201
References
208
Index
234
Copyright

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Page 36 - Sovereignty in the relations between States signifies independence. Independence in regard to a portion of the globe is the right to exercise therein, to the exclusion of any other State, the functions of a State.
Page 53 - Subject to its national legislation, respect, preserve and maintain knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities embodying traditional lifestyles relevant for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and promote their wider application with the approval and involvement of the holders of such knowledge, innovations and practices...
Page 65 - In the first place, I was removed from all the wickedness of the world here. I had neither the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, or the pride of life. I had nothing to covet; for I had all that I was now capable of enjoying. I was lord of the whole manor; or if I pleased, I might call myself king, or emperor over the whole country which I had possession of. There were no rivals. I had no competitor, none to dispute sovereignty or command with me.
Page 83 - Spaces of agency exist for black people, wherein we can both interrogate the gaze of the Other but also look back, and at one another, naming what we see. The "gaze" has been and is a site of resistance for colonized black people globally. Subordinates in relations of power learn experientially that there is a critical gaze, one that "looks" to document, one that is oppositional.
Page 25 - ... people may begin to question the prolongation of the war at any moment that the enemy grants some concession. They are so used to the settler's scorn and to his declared intention to maintain his oppression at whatever cost that the slightest suggestion of any generous gesture or of any good will is hailed with astonishment and delight, and the native bursts into a hymn of praise. It must be clearly explained to the rebel that he must on no account be blindfolded by the enemy's concessions. These...
Page 94 - the real life of the nation [that] is to be found in the homes of people who are nameless and unadvertised, and who ... see in their children their greatest contribution to the immortality of the race'.
Page 138 - native title" or "native title rights and interests" means the communal, group or individual rights and interests of Aboriginal peoples or Torres Strait Islanders in relation to land or waters, where: (a) the rights and interests are possessed under the traditional laws acknowledged, and the traditional customs observed, by the Aboriginal peoples or Torres Strait Islanders; and...
Page 57 - Round-Up', the world's top-selling herbicide. The most widespread application of genetic engineering in agriculture is herbicide resistance - the breeding of crops to be resistant to herbicides. When introduced to indigenous and local community farming systems, this will lead to increased use of agrichemicals, thus increasing environmental problems. It will destroy the biodiversity that is the sustainable and livelihood base of rural populations.
Page 20 - ... but rather a series of local engagements: and to tell the truth, none of these are decisive. So we must be sparing of our strength, and not throw everything into the scales once and for all. Colonialism has greater and wealthier resources than the native. The war goes on; the enemy holds his own; the final settling of accounts will not be today, nor yet tomorrow, for the truth is that the settlement was begun on the very first day of the war. and it will be ended not because there are no more...

About the author (2007)

Aileen Moreton-Robinson is a Geonpul scholar and Professor of Indigenous Studies at Queensland University of Technology. She is author of Talkin' Up to the White Woman and editor of Whitening Race.

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