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Articles on Aboriginal history

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West coast of Barrow Island, overlooking the submerged northwestern shelf. Kane Ditchfield

We have revealed a unique time capsule of Australia’s first coastal people from 50,000 years ago

Barrow Island off the coast of Western Australia holds a unique record of First Nations people. For millennia, they lived on vast plains that are now drowned by the sea.

Farmers or foragers? Pre-colonial Aboriginal food production was hardly that simple

For a decade, debate has raged over Dark Emu’s account of Aboriginal agriculture. But ancient food production in Australia is more complex than labels like farming or hunter-gathering suggest.
Aboriginal man playing violin to a group outside a tin shack, Moore River Native Settlement, Western Australia, ca. 1920. State Library of Western Australia

Fusing traditional culture and the violin: how Aboriginal musicians enhanced and maintained community in 20th century Australia

Western music was often taught to Aboriginal people as preparation for assimilation into white Australian society – but Aboriginal people continued to play the violin even when not prescribed.
Professor Eleanor Bourke (left), chair of Yoo Rrook Justice Commission, the first formal truth-telling process into injustices experienced by First Peoples in Victoria, at the smoking ceremony at its launch. Diego Fedele/AAP

‘Why didn’t we know?’ is no excuse. Non-Indigenous Australians must listen to the difficult historical truths told by First Nations people

Non-Indigenous Australians need to actively seek the truth about past violence and injustice against Indigenous Australians.
Benjamin Duterrau, The Conciliation 1840, oil on canvas. Purchased by the Friends of TMAG and the Board of Trustees, 1945. Collection: Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, AG79.

In the 1800s, colonisers attempted to listen to First Nations people. It didn’t stop the massacres

The office of the Protector of Aborigines was established in an effort to hear to the ‘wants, wishes and grievances’ of Aboriginal people. It failed almost immediately.
Queensland Police Museum

Isotope analysis helps tell the stories of Aboriginal people living under early colonial expansion

Research conducted with Gkuthaarn and Kukatj community members helps paint a picture of the lives of eight young Aboriginal people who lived during early colonial expansion.
May Nango sharing stories about Mamukala wetlands with her grandson, in 2015. Anna Florin (courtesy of GAC)

65,000 years of food scraps found at Kakadu tell a story of resilience amid changing climate, sea levels and vegetation

The Kakadu region has gone through immense transformation throughout history. How can archaeological food scraps tell us about how the First Australians adapted?

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