Abstracts for Issue 1, 2010
Mediating conflict in the age of Native Title
Peter Sutton (The University of Adelaide and South Australian Museum)
Mediators have played roles in managing conflict in Aboriginal societies for a long time. This paper discusses some of the similarities and differences between older customary mediator roles and those of the modern Native Title process.
Determinants of tribunal outcomes for Indigenous footballers
Neil Brewer, Carla Welsh and Jenny Williams (School of Psychology, Flinders University)
This paper reports on a study that examined whether football tribunal members’ judgments concerning players’ alleged misdemeanours on the sporting field are likely to be shaped by extra-evidential factors that disadvantage players from Indigenous backgrounds. Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian Football League (AFL) players, matched in terms of their typical levels of confidence and demeanour in public situations, were interrogated in a mock tribunal hearing about a hypothetical incident on the football field. The specific aim was to determine if the pressures of such questioning elicited behavioural differences likely to be interpreted as indicative of testimonial unreliability. Mock tribunal members (number = 103) then made judgments about the degree to which a number of behavioural characteristics were evident in the players’ testimonies. Under intense interrogation, Indigenous players were judged as presenting less confidently and displaying a greater degree of gaze aversion than non-Indigenous players. These behavioural characteristics are commonly — and inappropriately — used as cues or heuristics to infer testimonial accuracy. The paper discusses the implications for Indigenous players appearing at tribunal hearings — and for the justice system more broadly.
Timothy Korkanoon: A child artist at the Merri Creek Baptist Aboriginal School, Melbourne, Victoria, 1846–47 — a new interpretation of his life and work
Ian D Clark (School of Business, University of Ballarat)
This paper is concerned with the Coranderrk Aboriginal artist Timothy Korkanoon. Research has uncovered more about his life before he settled at the Coranderrk station in 1863. Evidence is provided that five sketches acquired by George Augustus Robinson, the former Chief Protector of Aborigines, in November 1851 in Melbourne, and found in his papers in the State Library of New South Wales, may also be attributed to the work of the young Korkanoon when he was a student at the Merri Creek Baptist Aboriginal School from 1846 to 1847.
Developing a database for Australian Indigenous kinship terminology: The AustKin project Laurent Dousset (CREDO, and CNRS, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales),
Rachel Hendery (The Australian National University), Claire Bowern (Yale University), Harold Koch (The Australian National University) and Patrick McConvell (The Australian National University)
In order to make Australian Indigenous kinship vocabulary from hundreds of sources comparable, searchable and accessible for research and community purposes, we have developed a database that collates these resources. The creation of such a database brings with it technical, theoretical and practical challenges, some of which also apply to other research projects that collect and compare large amounts of Australian language data, and some of which apply to any database project in the humanities or social sciences. Our project has sought to overcome these challenges by adopting a modular, object-oriented, incremental programming approach, by keeping metadata, data and analysis sharply distinguished, and through ongoing consultation between programmers, linguists and communities. In this paper we report on the challenges and solutions we have come across and the lessons that can be drawn from our experience for other social science database projects, particularly in Australia.
A time for change? Indigenous heritage values and management practice in the Coorong and Lower Murray Lakes region, South Australia
Lynley A Wallis (Aboriginal Environments Research Centre, The University of Queensland) and Alice C Gorman (Department of Archaeology, Flinders University)
The Coorong and Lower Murray Lakes in South Australia have long been recognised under the Ramsar Convention for their natural heritage values. Less well known is the fact that this area also has high social and cultural values, encompassing the traditional lands and waters (ruwe) of the Ngarrindjeri Nation. This unique ecosystem is currently teetering on the verge of collapse, a situation arguably brought about by prolonged drought after decades of unsustainable management practices. While at the federal level there have been moves to better integrate typically disparate ‘cultural’ and ‘natural’ heritage management regimes — thereby supporting Indigenous groups in their attempts to gain a greater voice in how their traditional country is managed — the distance has not yet been bridged in the Coorong. Here, current management planning continues to emphasise natural heritage values, with limited practical integration of cultural values or Ngarrindjeri viewpoints. As the future of the Coorong and Lower Murray Lakes is being debated, we suggest decision makers would do well to look to the Ngarrindjeri for guidance on the integration of natural and cultural values in management regimes as a vital step towards securing the long-term ecological viability of this iconic part of Australia.
Hearts and minds: Evolving understandings of chronic cardiovascular disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations
Ernest Hunter (Queensland Health and James Cook University)
Using the experience and reflections of a non-Indigenous clinician and researcher, Randolph Spargo, who has worked in remote Aboriginal Australia for more than 40 years, this paper tracks how those at the clinical coal-face thought and responded as cardiovascular and other chronic diseases emerged as new health concerns in the 1970s to become major contributors to the burden of excess ill health across Indigenous Australia. The paper cites research evidence that informed prevailing paradigms drawing primarily on work in which the clinician participated, which was undertaken in the remote Kimberley region in the north of Western Australia.