Abstracts for Issue 1, 2011
Youth media as cultural practice: Remote Indigenous youth speaking out loud
The rapid development of new information and communications technologies, an increase in affordable, small mobile technologies and the penetration of the internet and mobile telephony over the past decade account for an explosion in new modes and channels for communication and multimedia production. Internationally, such developments have led to substantial ethnographic inquiry into youth and the emergence of new social practices surrounding new media. Some researchers posit that digital technologies are enabling new kinds of agency and engagement in learning and others suggest that new thinking about language and literacy has been catalysed. In Australia, accounts of remote Indigenous youth culture in public or policy discourse tend not to portray their agentive participation in new forms of learning, multimodal practice and production or online communication. Additionally, relatively little ethnographic information is available on how Indigenous youth are shaping the creative, cultural and communicative uses of new media, and how and why these practices are taking hold in remote contexts. This paper looks at the uptake of new media technologies in remote Indigenous contexts and the implications for youth learning and cultural practice by tracing the way in which social relations and communication styles have altered across the generations. Data gathered through ethnographic research indicate that where young people have access to new media technologies, expertise is acquired with ease, often leading to the rapid development of new communication practices and new forms of cultural production and public participation. Through participating in collaborative research young people are also reflecting on their changing cultural practice and giving voice to these reflections.
Mapping an Ancestral Past: Discovering Charles Richards' Maps of Aboriginal South-Eastern Australia
Drawn in 1892, the Charles Richards' maps locate 208 Aboriginal linguistic groups in south-eastern Australia. In 2009 the maps were rediscovered in the departmental archives of Museum Victoria. The maps are an important new nineteenth-century source for understanding the boundaries of language groups at that time. Richards interviewed Aboriginal people and recorded their languages and customs. As an ethnologist, Richards seems not to have been involved in many of the correspondence networks that were central to nineteenth-century ethnology and he was therefore little known in his own time and subsequently. Some of his word-list/dictionaries were published in 1902 in the journal Science of Man, but his maps have never been published before. This paper explores what is known about Richards, his research methodology and his work to compile the maps. The construction of these maps points to the importance of Charles Richards as a nineteenth-century ethnologist. His story is a window into nineteenth-century ethnology and Aboriginal/settler relations, and necessitates further research into this little-known figure.
Birrdhawal Language and Territory: A Reconsideration
Ian D Clark
This paper offers a fundamental critique and re-evaluation of the historical sources and more recent reconstructions which have been used to determine the language area of the Birrdhawal people of far eastern Victoria. In relation to Birrdhawal tribal territory, this paper addresses three critical issues: first, whether the Birrdhawal language is related to the Ganai language, is part of the Yuin language cluster or is a standalone distinct language; second, whether or not their country included any coastline or was landlocked; and, third, whether or not any of their country was subsumed into that of the Krauatungalung through land succession as argued by Wesson (1994, 2000, 2002). The paper offers a comparative and quantitative analysis of vocabulary from the study area and critiques previous research into constituent local group organisation.
Aboriginal literature in Austria: a discussion of three audiobooks
The overseas marketing of translated Aboriginal literature has received scant scholarly attention. This paper examines three examples of Aboriginal literature that have been translated into German and produced as audiobooks by two Austrian publishers. This special format, unique in comparison to other types of German translations, has implications for the representation of Aboriginal people. This paper focuses on the translation and promotion of these audiobooks by their Austrian publishers and argues that an understanding of the representation of Aboriginal people in these audiobooks is informed by different aspects of translation and advertisement, as well as the format of the medium itself.
Home to own: potential for Indigenous housing by Indigenous people
Responding to criticism that the housing stock in many of Australia's Indigenous communities has reached a critical state, the Commonwealth and Territory governments allocated significant resources to improve public housing in the Northern Territory. To this end, the Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program (SIHIP) was initiated in September 2007 to provide 750 new houses, rebuild 230 houses and refurbish 2500 houses by 2013. This type of top-down procurement structure is necessary when such a quantity of housing needs to be upgraded or built from scratch in such short timeframes. However, there is evidence that housing projects driven by both 'self-build' and 'supporter' ideologies can offer outcomes in tune with community aspirations and at lower cost. This paper argues that self-build and supporter-driven programs should also become part of the overall Indigenous housing strategy sponsored by the Commonwealth and Territory governments and that a long-term view of Indigenous housing procurement must be supported with a raft of new policies and funding opportunities. Although any new programs would require a sustained effort over many years - rather than the shorter 'burst' of activity associated with the SIHIP initiative - they are likely to produce cost-effective, sustainable and positive outcomes for Indigenous communities.
Histories of Indigenous-settler relations: reflections on internal Colonialism and the hybrid economy
John M White
To what extent can models of economic hybridity provide a theoretical basis for histories of Indigenous-settler relations that emerged as Indigenous labour came to be incorporated into settler economies, and the transformation of those relationships through time? This paper reflects upon this question by sketching some theoretical links between Jeremy Beckett's application of the theory of internal colonialism and Jon Altman's model of the hybrid economy. As part of a greater legacy, Beckett's analysis of the engagement between Torres Strait Islanders and the pearling industry served as a corrective to the general orthodoxy in which Indigenous Australians were considered to be peripheral to the settler economy. The two approaches are discussed in relation to recent ethnographic and archival research on the history of Indigenous-settler relations in the Eurobodalla region of the New South Wales south coast.
A practical method of embedding a traditional Indigenous perspective in tertiary training for future health practitioners
Karen Anne Sullivan and Rachael Sharman
Rather than teaching culture as a separate subject or specialist course, the embedding of cultural learnings (education about other cultures) within the standard health promotion curriculum is a relatively new advance in curriculum design. Although embedding can be achieved in a number of ways, this project trialled a relatively straightforward adaptation of an applied undergraduate assessment with the additional inclusion of a traditional Indigenous perspective. A web-based multimedia (WBMM) assessment tool was developed in order to adapt an original assessment on psycho-diagnostic reasoning.