Articles sur Indigenous history

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A photo of Stoney Squ-w Mountain in Banff by the Bow River. (Shutterstock)

The S-word: Just stop using it

The word Squ-w has an innocent origin, but its use in English has long been derogatory and racist. Place names which use this word should be changed.
Aboriginal dancers from Pinjarra perform at the unveiling of the counter-memorial in Esplanade Park, Fremantle, April 9 1994. Courtesy Bruce Scates

Monumental errors: how Australia can fix its racist colonial statues

A Fremantle monument to three white explorers was revised in 1994 to acknowledge the violence committed against Indigenous owners. As Australia struggles to reconcile its racist past, perhaps this monument shows a way forward.
Detail from Percy Leason, Thomas Foster, 1934, oil on canvas, 76.0 x 60.8 cm, State Library Victoria, Melbourne. Gift of Mrs Isabelle Leason, 1969 (H32094) © Max Leason

Friday essay: painting ‘The Last Victorian Aborigines’

Anthropologist Percy Leason thought he was painting the extinction of Victoria's Indigenous people in the 1930s. He was wrong, but his portraits, part of a new exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, are surprisingly sympathetic.
Indigenous children depicted in an etching playing the game of marngrook, which some have claimed inspired the game of Australian rules. Wikimedia Commons

Indigenous players didn’t invent Australian rules but did make it their own

The revival of the idea of Indigenous influence on the origins of Australian rules football diverts attention from another, much more uncomfortable story about Indigenous relationships to football.
Detail of Brook Andrew, Sexy and dangerous 1996. courtesy National Gallery of Victoria

Here’s Looking at: Brook Andrew’s Sexy and dangerous

A 20th-century image of an anonymous 'Aboriginal Chief' becomes an investigation of power, colonialism and queer sexuality in the hands of Brook Andrew.
The 2007 midwinter solstice illumination of the main altar tabernacle of Old Mission San Juan Bautista, California. Rubén G. Mendoza/Ancient Editions

A sacred light in the darkness: Winter solstice illuminations at Spanish missions

At many Spanish missions in the US and Latin America, the rising sun illuminates the altar on the winter solstice or other symbolic days. To the faithful, these events meant that Christ was with them.
Vincent Lingiari looks on as Prime Minister Gough Whitlam swigs champagne after the symbolic handback of the Gurindji people’s land. Rob Wesley-Smith

An historic handful of dirt: Whitlam and the legacy of the Wave Hill Walk-Off

A new book reveals the drama and comedy of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam's famous "hand back" of Gurindji land in 1975, following the Wave Hill Walk-Off 50 years ago – and the bittersweet aftermath.
Gurindji ranger Ursula Chubb pays her respects to ancestors killed in the early 1900s at Blackfella Creek, where children were tied with wire and dragged by horses, and adults were shot as they fled. They were buried under rocks where they fell. Brenda L Croft, from Yijarni

Friday essay: the untold story behind the 1966 Wave Hill Walk-Off

The Gurindji people of the Northern Territory made history 50 years ago by standing up for their rights to land and better pay. But a new book reveals the deeper story behind the Wave Hill Walk-Off.
The Papunya elders who organised the event were less concerned about their team winning and more about ensuring each community got a fair go. Barry Judd

The Aboriginal football ethic: where the rules get flexible

Sports weekends are where family connections are sustained, and culture is infused into Australian football games played on country.
A picture of strength: lifelong activist Bonita Mabo OA in front of her portrait as a young woman, which features in her granddaughter Boneta-Marie Mabo’s first solo exhibition. Josef Ruckli, courtesy of the State Library of Queensland

Black Velvet: redefining and celebrating Indigenous Australian women in art

Boneta-Marie Mabo's art responds to a colonial past in which Aboriginal women were fetishised as "black velvet". But it also celebrates strong women, including her activist grandmother Bonita Mabo.
There’s too much evidence of violence in Australia’s past to hide behind euphemisms. The Founding of Australia, Algernon Talmadge, 1937.

Of course Australia was invaded – massacres happened here less than 90 years ago

Detailed historical research on the colonial frontier unequivocally supports the idea that Aboriginal people were subject to attack, assault, conquest and subjugation: all synonyms for the term 'invasion'.
The figure of the ‘noble savage’ has deep roots in Australia colonialism. Shipwreck of the Stirling Castle, John Curtis, 1838.

Explainer: the myth of the Noble Savage

Liberal MP Dennis Jensen's comments about the 'noble savage' lifestyle tap into a centuries-old stereotype about Indigenous people.
A meeting to plan the 1938 Day of Mourning in Sydney is addressed by Jack Patten, a leader of the Aborigines Progressive Association (APA), which had three aims: full citizenship rights; Aboriginal representation in parliament and the abolition of the NSW Aborigines Protection Board. Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW – MLQ059/9

Capturing the lived history of the Aborigines Protection Board while we still can

Researchers aim to record the experiences of the last people to live under the control of the Aborigines Protection/Welfare Board in NSW as part of a complete history of its far-reaching impacts.
Drawings by male warriors – like Black Hawk’s ‘Dream or Vision or Himself Changed to a Destroyer or Riding a Bufalo Eagle (1880-1881)’ – often depicted visions perceived during meditation and fasting. New York State Historical Association, Fenimore Art Museum/John Bigelow Taylor

From the Great Plains, Native American masterpieces emerged

A new exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art celebrates 2,000 years of artistic achievement.

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