Diasporic connection to country and performing for the state: native title recognition in remote South West Queensland

Wednesday, 17 June 2015
Diana Romano

Proving native title in southern Australia can be an arduous task. In some areas of south west Queensland, the country was almost entirely vacated of Aboriginal presence through the forced removal of entire families from camps on pastoral stations to government reserves. Aboriginal claimants often lament the ‘circus hoops’ they feel they are made to jump through in order to prove their connection to the land and waters they are claiming, to the very government that removed them in the first place. 

In this paper, I explore these issues of performance, authenticity, and (re) connection to country from the perspective of personal interactions between claimants, ‘the state’, and Queensland South Native Title Services staff made possible by a one-off meeting that occurred ‘on country’ as a final measure to convince the Queensland government of connection, and which eventually led to a consent determination.