Indigenous Self-Determination in Australia

Indigenous Self-Determination in Australia

Histories and Historiography

Edited by: Laura Rademaker orcid, Tim Rowse orcid

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Histories of the colonisation of Australia have recognised distinct periods or eras in the colonial relationship: ‘protection’ and ‘assimilation’. It is widely understood that, in 1973, the Whitlam Government initiated a new policy era: ‘self-determination’. Yet, the defining features of this era, as well as how, why and when it ended, are far from clear. In this collection we ask: how shall we write the history of self-determination? How should we bring together, in the one narrative, innovations in public policy and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander initiatives? How (dis)continuous has ‘self-determination’ been with ‘assimilation’ or with what came after? Among the contributions to this book there are different views about whether Australia is still practising ‘self-determination’ and even whether it ever did or could.

This book covers domains of government policy and Indigenous agency including local government, education, land rights, the outstation movement, international law, foreign policy, capital programs, health, public administration, mission policies and the policing of identity. Each of the contributors is a specialist in his/her topic. Few of the contributors would call themselves ‘historians’, but each has met the challenge to consider Australia’s recent past as an era animated by ideas and practices of Indigenous self-determination.


ISBN (print):
ISBN (online):
Publication date:
Sep 2020
ANU Press
Aboriginal History Monographs
Aboriginal History
Arts & Humanities: History; Social Sciences: Indigenous Studies, Social Policy & Administration

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Indigenous Self-Determination in Australia »

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Part One: Self‑determination as a project of colonial authority

  1. Self-determination in action: How John Hunter and Aboriginal people in Arnhem Land anticipated official policy in the late 1960s and early 1970s (PDF, 0.2MB)Chris Haynes doi
  2. An emerging Protestant doctrine of self‑determination in the Northern Territory (PDF, 0.2MB)Laura Rademaker doi
  3. The Aboriginal pastoral enterprise in self‑determination policy (PDF, 0.3MB)Charlie Ward doi
  4. Unmet potential: The Commonwealth Indigenous managed capital funds and self-determination (PDF, 0.2MB)M. C. Dillon doi
  5. After reserves and missions: Discrete Indigenous communities in the self‑determination era (PDF, 0.6MB)Will Sanders doi
  6. ‘Taxpayers’ money’? ATSIC and the Indigenous Sector (PDF, 0.2MB)Katherine Curchin and Tim Rowse doi

Part Two: Self‑determination as an Indigenous project

  1. Adult literacy, land rights and self‑determination (PDF, 0.2MB)Bob Boughton doi
  2. Taking control: Aboriginal organisations and self‑determination in Redfern in the 1970s (PDF, 0.2MB)Johanna Perheentupa doi
  3. Beyond land: Indigenous health and self-determination in an age of urbanisation (PDF, 0.2MB)Maria John doi
  4. Self-determination’s land rights: Destined to disappoint? (PDF, 0.2MB)Jon Altman doi
  5. ‘Essentially sea-going people’: How Torres Strait Islanders shaped Australia’s border (PDF, 0.3MB)Tim Rowse doi

Part Three: Self‑determination as principle of international law and concept in political theory

  1. Self-determination under international law and some possibilities for Australia’s Indigenous peoples (PDF, 0.2MB)Asmi Wood doi
  2. Self-determination with respect to language rights (PDF, 0.2MB)Jane Simpson doi
  3. Self-determination through administrative representation: Insights from theory, practice and history (PDF, 0.2MB)Elizabeth Ganter doi
  4. Who is the self in Indigenous self‑determination? (PDF, 0.2MB)Sana Nakata doi

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