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Dreaming Ecology »

Nomadics and Indigenous Ecological Knowledge, Victoria River, Northern Australia

Edited by: Darrell Lewis, Margaret Jolly
Authored by: Deborah Bird Rose
Publication date: 2024
In the author’s own words, Dreaming Ecology ‘explores a holistic understanding of the interconnections of people, country, kinship, creation and the living world within a context of mobility. Implicitly it asks how people lived so sustainably for so long’. It offers a telling critique of the loss of Indigenous life, human and non-human, in the wake of white settler colonialism and this becoming ‘cattle country’. It offers a fresh perspective on nomadics grounded in ‘footwalk epistemology’ and ‘an ethics of return sustained across different species, events, practices and scales’ ‘This is the final and most substantial of Debbie’s love letters to the Aboriginal people of the Victoria River Downs. I say this because there is a such a sense of reverence, wonder and respect throughout the book. The introduction of concepts of double-death, footwalk epistemology, wild country, … are not only organising ideas but characterisations arising from what Debbie hears, sees and feels of herself and Aboriginal others … I think of it in terms of love, if love is care, reciprocal respect, deep connectivity and a strong desire to never make less of the people she chose to commit herself to.’ —Richard Davis ‘This book was a pleasure to read, filled with careful description of people, places, and various plants and animals, and insightful analysis of the patterns and commitments that hold them together in the world.’ —Thom van Dooren

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Yagara Dictionary and Salvage Grammar »

Publication date: 2024
Most English speakers in Australia know a few words of Yagara, the Pama-Nyungan language traditionally spoken in the area that now includes Brisbane and Ipswich. For example, Australian English yakka ‘work’ comes from the Yagara verb yaga ‘to work’. However, no fluent native speakers of Yagara remain. The current volume compares the written records of Yagara to facilitate revitalisation of the spoken language. Part 1: Grammar introduces the Yagara sources, which are then compared to extract a picture of Yagara’s structure – its sounds, its words, and its grammar. Attention is also given to the system of kinship terms, moieties, and totems. Part 2: Dictionary contains the most complete Yagara-English dictionary to date, with over 2,200 entries, the original source spellings for each word, standardised spellings, and anthropological notes. Entries include traditional place names, fun insults, and everyday expressions such as the greeting wi balga ‘Hey, come’. The dictionary is followed by an English word finder list. Part 3: Texts consist of full versions of all known texts in Yagara, including sentences, songs, and three Bible stories. Standardised versions are accompanied by English translations and the original unedited renditions.

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Memory in Place »

Locating colonial histories and commemoration

Publication date: November 2023
Memory in Place brings together Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars and practitioners grappling with the continued potency of memories and experiences of colonialism. While many of these conversations have taken place on a national stage, this collection returns to the rich intimacy of the local. From Queensland’s sweeping Gulf Country, along the shelly beaches of south Sydney, Melbourne’s city gardens and the rugged hills of South Australia, through Central Australia’s dusty heart and up to the majestic Kimberley, the collection charts how interactions between Indigenous people, settlers and their descendants are both remembered and forgotten in social, political, and cultural spaces. It offers uniquely diverse perspectives from a range of disciplines including history, anthropology, memory studies, archaeology, and linguistics from both established and emerging scholars; from Indigenous and non-Indigenous contributors; and from academics as well as museum and cultural heritage practitioners. The collection locates some of the nation’s most pressing political issues with attention to the local, and the ethics of commemoration and relationships needed at this scale. It will be of interest to those who see the past as intimately connected to the future.

Ebenezer Mission Station, 1863–1873 »

The Diary of Missionaries Adolf and Polly Hartmann

Edited by: Felicity Jensz
Publication date: July 2023
This book contains the annotated diary of Adolf and Mary (Polly) Hartmann, missionaries of the Moravian Church who worked at the Ebenezer mission station on Wotjobaluk country, in the north-west of the Colony of Victoria, Australia. The diary begins in 1863, as the Hartmanns are preparing to travel from Europe to take up their post, and ends in 1873, by which time they are working in Canada as missionaries to the Lenni Lenape people. Recording the Hartmann’s eight years at the Ebenezer mission, the diary presents richly detailed insights into the daily interactions between Aboriginal people and their colonisers. The inhabitants of the mission are overwhelmingly described in the diary as agents in their lives, moving in and out of the missionaries’ sphere of influence, yet restricted at times by the boundaries of the mission. The diary reveals moments of laughter, shared grief, community, advocacy and reciprocal learning, alongside the mundane everyday chores of mission life. Through the personal writings of a missionary couple, this diary brings to light the regular, routine and extraordinary events on a mission station in Australia in the third quarter of the nineteenth century—a period just prior to British high imperialism, and a period before increasingly restrictive legislation was enforced on Indigenous people in the Colony of Victoria.

Aboriginal History Journal: Volume 46 »

Edited by: Crystal McKinnon, Ben Silverstein
Publication date: July 2023
The articles in Volume 46 each take provocative and generative approaches to the challenge of historical truth-telling. Examining the public memory of massacres in Gippsland, Victoria, Aunty Doris Paton, Beth Marsden and Jessica Horton trace a history of contestation between, on the one hand, forms of frontier memorialisation articulated to secure colonial possession and, on the other, the sovereign counter-narratives of Gunai Kurnai communities. Heidi Norman and Anne Maree Payne describe Aboriginal campaigns to repatriate Ancestors’ stolen remains over the past fifty years, showing how these campaigns have proceeded along with and as part of nation-building movements towards land rights and self-determination. Their call for Aboriginal relationships with Ancestors to be represented in a National Resting Place aligns their research with these movements. We return to Gunai Kurnai Country in a piece authored by Rob Hudson and Shannon Woodcock, who show how the Krowathunkooloong Keeping Place has formed an important site and tool of community work towards cultural resurgence; the article itself demonstrates the value and importance of collaborative and co-designed research methods. The volume then includes a conversation between Laura McBride and Mariko Smith about their curation of the Australian Museum’s Unsettled exhibition, through which they responded to the 250th anniversary of Cook’s Endeavour voyage along Australia’s east coast by telling true stories that put Cook in his place.

Islands of Hope »

Indigenous Resource Management in a Changing Pacific

Publication date: May 2023
In the Pacific, as elsewhere, indigenous communities live with the consequences of environmental mismanagement and over-exploitation but rarely benefit from the short-term economic profits such actions may generate within the global system. National and international policy frameworks ultimately rely on local community assent. Without effective local participation and partnership, these extremely imposed frameworks miss out on millennia of local observation and understanding and seldom deliver viable and sustained environmental, cultural and economic benefits at the local level. This collection argues that environmental sustainability, indigenous political empowerment and economic viability will succeed only by taking account of distinct local contexts and cultures. In this regard, these Pacific indigenous case studies offer ‘islands of hope’ for all communities marginalised by increasingly intrusive—and increasingly rapid—technological changes and by global dietary, economic, political and military forces with whom they have no direct contact or influence.

Something's Gotta Change »

Redefining Collaborative Linguistic Research

Authored by: Lesley Woods
Publication date: March 2023
Indigenous people are pushing back against more than 200 years of colonisation and rejecting being seen by the academy as ‘subjects’ of research. A quiet revolution is taking place among many Indigenous communities across Australia, a revolution insisting that we have control over our languages and our cultural knowledge – for our languages to be a part of our future, not our past. We are reclaiming our right to determine how linguistic research takes place in our communities and how we want to engage with the academy in the future. This book is an essential guide for non-Indigenous linguists wanting to engage more deeply with Indigenous communities and form genuinely collaborative research partnerships. It fleshes out and redefines ethical linguistic research and work with Indigenous people and communities, with application beyond linguistics. By reassessing, from an Indigenous point of view, what it means to ‘save’ an endangered language, Something’s Gotta Change shows how linguistic research can play a positive role in keeping (maintaining) or putting (reclaiming) endangered languages on our tongues.

Aboriginal History Journal: Volume 45 »

Edited by: Crystal McKinnon, Ben Silverstein
Publication date: April 2022
This volume begins with Michael Aird, Joanna Sassoon and David Trigger’s meticulous research tracing the well-known but sometimes confused identity of Jackey Jackey of the Lower Logan River in south-east Queensland. Emma Cupitt describes the multivocality and intertextuality of Radio Redfern’s coverage of Aboriginal protests in Sydney as the 1988 Australian Bicentenary celebrations took place elsewhere in the city. Similarly approaching sources for their multiplicity, Matt Poll and Amanda Harris provide a reading of the ambassadorial work performed by assemblages of Yolngu bark paintings in diverse exhibition spaces after the Second World War. Cara Cross historicises the production and use of mineral medicine—or lithotherapeutics—derived from Burning Mountain in Wonnarua Country, issuing a powerful call for the recognition of Indigenous innovation as cultural heritage. In a collaborative article, Fred Cahir, Ian Clark, Dan Tout, Benjamin Wilkie and Jidah Clark read colonial records against the grain to narrate a nineteenth-century history of Victorian Aboriginal relationships with fire, strengthening the case for the revitalisation of these fire management practices. And, based on extensive oral history work, Maria Panagopoulos presents Aboriginal narrations of the experience of moving—or being moved—from the Manatunga settlement on the outskirts of Robinvale into the town itself, on Tati Tati Country in the Mallee region of Victoria. In addition to a range of book reviews, we are also pleased to include Greg Lehman’s review essay concerning Cassandra Pybus’s recent award-winning Truganini: Journey through the Apocalypse, which considers the implications of our relationships with history and how they help to think through practices of researching and writing Aboriginal history.
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Power and Dysfunction »

The New South Wales Board for the Protection of Aborigines 1883–1940

Authored by: Richard Egan
Publication date: October 2021
In 1883, the New South Wales Board for the Protection of Aborigines was tasked with assisting and supporting an Aboriginal population that had been devastated by a brutal dispossession. It began its tenure with little government direction – its initial approach was cautious and reactionary. However, by the turn of the century this Board, driven by some forceful individuals, was squarely focused on a legislative agenda that sought policies to control, segregate and expel Aboriginal people. Over time it acquired extraordinary powers to control Aboriginal movement, remove children from their communities and send them into domestic service, collect wages and hold them in trust, withhold rations, expel individuals from stations and reserves, authorise medical inspections, and prevent any Aboriginal person from leaving the state. Power and Dysfunction explores this Board and uncovers who were the major drivers of these policies, who were its most influential people, and how this body came to wield so much power. Paradoxically, despite its considerable influence, through its bravado, structural dysfunction, flawed policies and general indifference, it failed to manage core aspects of Aboriginal policy. In the 1930s, when the Board was finally challenged by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal groups seeking its abolition, it had become moribund, paranoid and secretive as it railed against all detractors. When it was finally disbanded in 1940, its 57-year legacy had touched every Aboriginal community in New South Wales with lasting consequences that still resonate today.

Linguistic Organisation and Native Title »

The Wik Case, Australia

Publication date: September 2021
Classical Aboriginal societies in Australia have commonly been described in terms of social organisation and local organisation. This book presents rich detail on a third and related domain that has not been given the same kind of attention: linguistic organisation. Basing their analyses on fieldwork among the Wik peoples of Cape York Peninsula, north Australia, Peter Sutton and Ken Hale show how cosmology, linguistic variation, language prehistory, clan totemic identities, geopolitics, land use and land ownership created a vibrant linguistic organisation in a classical Aboriginal society. This has been a society long in love with language and languages. Its people have richly imbued the domain of rights and interests in country—the foundations of their native title as recognised in Australian law—with rights and interests in the abundance of languages and dialects given to them at the start of the world.