Articles on Indigenous Australia

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Every culture derives a different meaning from our common wonder at the mysteries of the universe. AAP Image/Supplied by Natasha Hurley Walker (Murchison Widefield Array telescope in Western Australia)

Indigenous culture and astrophysics: a path to reconciliation

The night sky is part of the shared heritage of all people on Earth. A project to bring Indigenous Australians and astrophysics together reveals our common wonder at the mysteries of the universe.
If a way ahead on constitutional recognition is to be forged, it must be through political leadership and genuine public consultation. AAP/Dan Himbrechts

Leadership is key to breaking the impasse on constitutional recognition

The parliamentary committee's report highlights the deep division between those who want to advance Indigenous recognition through minimal constitutional change and those who seek more substantive reform.
The white paper on developing northern Australia outlines a solid vision - now for action. Andrew Campbell

Is the white paper a game-changer for northern Australia?

The White Paper on Developing Northern Australia represents the most comprehensive attempt yet to think through the development possibilities of the north.
Indigenous young people are 25 times more likely to be detained than non-Indigenous young people. AAP/Jesse Roberts

‘Tough on crime’ is creating a lost generation of Indigenous youth

A new generation of Indigenous youth is being separated from their families and culture – this time by the force of criminal law that ignores the proven alternative of community-based justice.
For a modest amount, the Custody Notification Service provides NSW with one of the most effective strategies in curbing Indigenous deaths in police custody.` shutterstock

NSW ditches another protection for Indigenous people in custody

Without the Custody Notification Service in NSW, deaths of Indigenous people in police custody will almost certainly increase, along with the over-representation of Indigenous people in prison.
Gary Foley has been driven by a lifelong project of sharpening his own intellect, realising the political force behind ideas and sharing them with others. Gary Foley

Tony Birch on Gary Foley: ‘a direct and fiercely intellectual man’

Tonight Gary Foley will be awarded the Red Ochre Award for his lifetime contribution to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts. He is a more complicated figure than the one we are sometimes presented with.
Even with bipartisan support, a referendum on Indigenous constitutional recognition is no certainty to succeed. AAP/Dan Himbrechts

What the record reveals of the chances of Indigenous recognition

A defeat for Indigenous constitutional recognition would be disastrous and demoralising. But history tells us that even worthy proposals with bipartisan support are not assured of success.
While plans to close ‘unsustainable remote communities’ have triggered recent protests, at the heart of the issue is the nature of the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. AAP/Richard Iskov

Who decides? A question at the heart of meaningful reconciliation

Decisions being made from on high about the fate of remote Indigenous communities are symptomatic of a continuing imbalance in the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
In the past decade, the number of people ending up in South Australian prison cells has grown at seven times the rate of the state population. AAP/South Australian Correctional Services Department

State of imprisonment: South Australia’s prisoner numbers soar, with just 10% of budget for rehab

Since 2004, the number of prisoners in South Australia has risen seven times faster than the state's net population growth – and nearly doubled its rate of locking up Indigenous Australians.
NSW Deputy Premier and Nationals leader Troy Grant kicked off his party’s election campaign launch on March 15 by speaking in Wiradjuri. Nikki Short/AAP

Wiradjuri words show the power of learning Australia’s first languages

NSW Nationals' leader Troy Grant has broken new ground by speaking Wiradjuri in parliament and at his party's election launch – and it reflects a growing Indigenous language revival in NSW.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott caused controversy earlier this week when he said that living in remote Indigenous communities was a ‘lifestyle choice’. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

For the real story on Indigenous Australia, social beats old media

The furore over Tony Abbott’s 'lifestyle choices' comments both sidelines and highlights the lack of real discussion on Indigenous policy in Australia.
Faith Bandler will be remembered as a tireless advocate for the rights of South Sea Islanders in Australia. AAP Image/Jane Dempster

Vale Faith Bandler: anti-racist intellectual and activist

Mrs Faith Bandler has died. We mourn our loss and honour her life. Her death on Friday marks the end of an era. At the age of 96 years, she outlived all the other black political activists of her generation…
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and her deputy, Jackie Trad, head up a new cabinet with eight female and six male ministers, including the state’s first Indigenous woman MP. Dan Peled/AAP

A day of firsts for women in politics, and one in particular

It’s a historic day for politics and women in Australia – and even more remarkable for one woman minister, who is also Queensland’s first ever Indigenous woman MP. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s cabinet…
Creating a unique Australian culture has been an enduring challenge. AAP/'Bungaree, The Showman' by Mervyn Bishop

A hybrid Australia, where identity has a multi-layered crunch

Australia today is very different to the place I grew up in: our culture has changed and is changing, but public discussion is still framed by old tropes. We need a new shorthand to capture the reality…
King tides are just one of the threats faced by the people of Saibai Island in the Torres Strait, as a result of climate change. Brad Marsellos

Rising seas pose a cultural threat to Australia’s ‘forgotten people’

While you may have heard about the increasing threat that climate change and rising seas pose to Pacific islands — already forcing some communities to move — Australia has its own group of islands that…
Indigenous Australians see spirituality as central to their wellbeing. Rusty Stewart/Flickr

Indigenous Australians offer a broader concept of wellbeing

The United Nations Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) recently conducted an assessment of the wellbeing of people around the world. The results indicate that Canberra is a world…
Former Retta Dixon resident Sandra Kitching guides the royal commissioners around what was the site of the children’s home. AAP/Neda Vanovac

How was ‘improper conduct’ at the Inland Mission buried for so long?

In 1998, the new directors of the Aborigines Inland Mission changed its name to Australian Indigenous Ministries. They cleaned out the cupboards and placed the archive they had inherited, starting with…
Ken Wyatt watches as House of Representatives Speaker Bronwyn Bishop accepts a boomerang from Cairns local Norman Miller. AAP/Alan Porritt

Questions proposed for Indigenous referendum

The parliamentary committee on constitutional recognition of Australia’s first people has put forward three possible propositions…
Indigenous rangers at the Fish River Station in the Northern Territory. Indigenous Land Corporation

Why Australia’s outback is globally important

There are places in Australia that are awe-inspiring, spectacular, mysterious; they touch our spirit and help define our nation. Kakadu is one, Uluru another, the magnificent red sandy deserts, the Kimberley…
Robinvale footballers have been recruited into an active campaign to heal community divisions, which includes playing an annual Harmony Match. Facebook/Robinvale Football Netball Club

A world away from the MCG, every round is multicultural round

Standing in the social rooms of Robinvale Football Netball Club on presentation night is perhaps like standing in any sports club in regional Australia when their vote count is on. There are the usual…

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