Accepted paper:

Australian Indigenous identity between self-determination, integration and reconciliation

Author:

Gabriele Weichart (University of Vienna)

Paper short abstract:

Starting from the recent "historical moment" of PM Rudd's public apology in February this year, the paper will explore and discuss the notions of Australian Indigenous identity and Indigeneity in public discourses related to other concepts like self-determination and integration.

Paper long abstract:

The Indigenous population of Australia is composed of two groups, the Aboriginal people who traditionally inhabited the mainland, and the Torres Strait Islander people who represented a "cultural bridge" between the continent and the island of New Guinea. Today, "Indigenous person/people" is considered the least offensive term of reference and used by insiders and outsiders alike in official public rhetoric. "Homogenisation" here, however, is "politically correct" on various grounds - not least because many political and social organisations offer their services to "all" Indigenous people irrespective of their distinctive cultural and social background. Their increasing visibility and importance at local, regional but also at national levels have substantially contributed to the formation of an overarching Indigenous identity or (perhaps rather) identities. One of the shared markers of Indigenous identity is the place-time frame: the connection to the land, to a particular area, as well as the depth of ancestry - both of which underlining the uniqueness and legitimacy of Australian Indigeneity and its distinction from the mainstream society and other minorities. "Indigenous affairs" have regularly been on the agenda of Australian national politics. Prime Minister Rudd's long due apology to the "Stolen Generations" and their families in February this year was a symbolic act of great importance and urgently needed for an advancement on the "road towards reconciliation". Starting from this recent "historical moment", the paper will explore and discuss the notions of Australian Indigenous identity and Indigeneity in public discourses related to other concepts like self-determination and integration.

panel W035
Indigenous, autochthonous and national identities? Strategic representations, political struggles and epistemological issues (atelier bilingue - anglais et fran├žais)