Music and Land Rights: Archival Recordings as Documentation for Australian Aboriginal Land Claims

By Koch, Grace | Fontes Artis Musicae, January-March 2008 | Go to article overview

Music and Land Rights: Archival Recordings as Documentation for Australian Aboriginal Land Claims


Koch, Grace, Fontes Artis Musicae


English Abstract

Archival recordings of Australian Aboriginal songs have been used as evidence in land claim hearings in the Northern Territory since the late 1970's. The people who own songs are the traditional owners of the land associated with those songs. A further legislative development, the Native Title Act (1993) (Commonwealth), requires evidence of long-term connection with the land being claimed, thus emphasising the importance of historical recordings. Copies of historical recordings are, in turn, stimulating new performances of songs and their associated ceremonies. The paper will explain the foci of the two major Australian legislative Acts setting out procedures for Indigenous people to claim land, and then will demonstrate the connection between ownership of songs and of land. The use of archival recordings and of music in land claims and related legislation will be explored, giving specific examples. Finally, there will be a description of the various types of places where audiovisual and print documentation for land claims are held with discussion of a project to ensure that the material will be preserved and made accessible to future generations.

French Abstract

Des archives sonores de chansons d'aborigenes d'Australie ont ete utilisees comme preuves pendant les audiences sur la revendication des terres du Territoire du Nord de l'Australie depuis la fin des annees 1970. Les personnes qui detiennent des chansons sont les possesseurs par tradition des terres qui y sont associees. Un developpement legislatif plus complet, le Native Title Act (1993) (Commonwealth), reclame les preuves d'un lien de longue date avec ces terres lorsqu'un terrain est revendique, ce qui souligne l'importance d'enregistrements historiques. En retour, les copies de tels enregistrements incitent a de nouvelles interpretations des chansons et des ceremonies qui leurs sont associees. L'article explique les principes des deux actes legislatifs australiens les plus importants, qui mettent au point des procedures pour les indigenes qui revendiquent des terrains, puis demontre la relation entre la possession de terres et la possession de chansons. Il y est question de l'utilisation d'archives sonores et de musique dans la revendication de terres, a l'aide d'exemples specifiques; la legislation competente relative a cette question y est egalement exploree. Enfin, l'article decrit les divers endroits qui offrent de la documentation imprimee et audiovisuelle sur la revendication de terrains, et discute un projet qui tend a assurer la preservation du materiel ainsi que son acces pour les generations futures.

German Abstract

Seit den spaten 70er Jahren sind Archivaufnahmen von Gesangen der australischen Ureinwohner als Beweismittel in Anhorungen zu Landrechten im Northern Territory benutzt worden. Die Besitzer der Gesange sind die traditionellen Eigentumer des Landes, welches zu diesen Gesangen gehort. Die fortgeschriebene Gesetzgebung, der Native Title Act (1993) (Commonwealth), verlangt dazu einen Beweis der langjahrigen Zusammengehorigkeit von Gesang und beanspruchtem Land und betont somit die Wichtigkeit historischer Tonaufnahmen. Umgekehrt regt die Verfugbarkeit historischer Aufnahmen aber auch neue Auffuhrungen von Gesangen und zuge horigen Zeremonien an. Der Aufsatz erklart die beiden zentralen Punkte der zwei grossen Gesetze, die die Vorgehensweise der Landbeanspruchung fur Ureinwohner festlegen. Daran anschliessend veranschaulicht er die Verbindung zwischen dem Besitz der Gesange und dem Besitz des Landes. Anhand von Beispielen wird die Nutzung von Archivaufnahmen und Musik in Verfahren der Landbeanspruchung und vergleichbarer Rechtssprechung untersucht. Abschliessend folgt eine Beschreibung der verschiedenen Orte, an denen sich zur Geltendmachung von Landrechten nvtzbare audiovisuelle und gedruckte Dokumente befinden, und die Erorterung eines Projektes zur Sicherung und Nutzbarmachung der Materialien fur zukunftige Generationen. …

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Music and Land Rights: Archival Recordings as Documentation for Australian Aboriginal Land Claims
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