Articles on Indigenous Australia

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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.
People have camped in the long grass since colonisation. From this perspective, bans on the practice are a denial of Indigenous agency, culture and rights to country. Photo: K. Pollard

Contested spaces: the ‘long-grassers’, living private lives in public places

In contrast to perceptions of other homeless people sleeping rough, Darwin's "long-grassers" are applying a long cultural tradition to deal with the situation in which they find themselves.
Aboriginal elder Major Sumner sits outside Liverpool’s World Museum with a box containing the skull of an Australian indigenous person, taken from Australia between 1902 and 1904. Phil Noble/Reuters

Museums are returning indigenous human remains but progress on repatriating objects is slow

The question of repatriating objects is clearly more complex than returning human remains. It needs more debate, and more creative interventions to move beyond the current impasse.
Malcolm Turnbull explicitly chose to assume the mantle of his predecessor Tony Abbott as ‘prime minister for Indigenous affairs’. AAP/Mick Tsikas

Can Turnbull change course in Indigenous affairs?

For many, relations between Indigenous Australians and the government are best described as being in a state of crisis.
Footballer Adam Goodes was daring to speak of things that many Australians would prefer to be ignorant of. AAP/Dean Lewins

The land we play on: equality doesn’t mean justice

Until we see a marked change in the stories that are told, together with a shift from inclusion to social justice, the national story of Australian sport will remain very, very white.
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.

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