Articles on Indigenous history

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Isabel Daniels weeps as she speaks of her murdered cousin, Nicole Daniels, at the opening day of hearings at the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Winnipeg in October 2017. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods)

Missing and murdered Indigenous women inquiry: We must listen and act

Canadians should be listening closely to stories coming from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. We need to hear the truth and then help justice move forward.
Fossilised ancient human footprints at the Mungo National Park. How are we to engage with a history that spans 65,000 years? Michael Amendolia/AAP

Friday essay: when did Australia’s human history begin?

Over the past half century, Australia has experienced a 'time revolution' with Indigenous history pushed back into the dizzying expanse of deep time. The latest discovery reminds us that science, like history, is an ongoing inquiry.
A scene from Bangarra Dance Theatre’s 2014 work Patyegarang. An Eora woman, Patyegarang became the main informant for William Dawes, the first European to sympathetically chronicle the language and culture of the Sydney landowners. Jess Bialek/AAP

Indigenous lives, the ‘cult of forgetfulness’ and the Australian Dictionary of Biography

Just 210 of nearly 13,000 biographical entries in the Australian Dictionary of Biography are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women. A new project aims to change this.
The 2016 Standing Rock protest was only the most recent manifestation of the indigenous American values inherited by European settlers on this land. James MacPherson

Indigenous people invented the so-called ‘American Dream’

Anti-immigrant policies ignore that American ideals like liberty, equality and the pursuit of happiness can be traced back to the indigenous pioneers who once moved freely across North America.
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.
A group of youth walked 1600 kilometers to bring attention aboriginal issues in 2013 at Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario. They hold up the Cree flag. By Paul McKinnon/Shutterstock.com

Media portrays Indigenous and Muslim youth as ‘savages’ and ‘barbarians’

Research shows that the Globe and Mail has created a script in which marginalized youth can only be dealt with as failures or criminals, impacting the way they are perceived in society.
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.

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