Not land rights: but land rites

Wednesday, 18 May 1988
Ken Colbung

In the 1988 Wentworth Lecture, Ken Colbung's aim is to expose the contradictions in the symbolism of 'Land Rights' and 'Land Rites' in the context of Aboriginal politics. 

If Aboriginal people overlook the necessity for our own needs, and those of others, of space, well-being and cooperation, they will also overlook the underlying message of this lecture. As a minority within the Australian political frame-work, one of the important elements of (both) our own survival since the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, has been the kinds of friends we were able to cultivate in that time.

Colbung believes that in the next two hundred years the political situation will change. The conservation movement, scholars, citizens and politicians will have to play the kind of role earlier friends had to carry out. In these circumstances Aboriginal self-correction in the way they percieve the important concepts of Rights and Rites will be of the utmost importance.