Editorial

By Bamblett, Lawrence; Strelein, Lisa | Australian Aboriginal Studies, Spring 2015 | Go to article overview

Editorial


Bamblett, Lawrence, Strelein, Lisa, Australian Aboriginal Studies


Welcome to the first edition of Australian Aboriginal Studies for 2015. A new year has brought with it some changes to the journal, with the departure of Jakelin Troy, who has been the Editor for the past three years, and her Assistant Editor, Sally McNicol. To begin, we acknowledge the excellent work of both women. Jaky, who had a long association with AIATSIS in many guises, including most recently as a Director of Research, was the first Aboriginal woman to be general editor of Australian Aboriginal Studies. Readers who are aware of the work and dedication required to publish a journal of this quality will understand the debt we owe Jaky and Sally. We thank them for their work on this and earlier editions.

The 2015/1 issue of Australian Aboriginal Studies features papers in both old and new areas of research in the very broad field of Indigenous studies today. They range across community safety and policing, health, linguistics, anthropology, archaeology, art and cultural studies, and community engagement processes.

Featured in this and future editions will be thought-provoking articles by leading Indigenous thinkers about the importance of Indigenous knowledge to wellbeing, as well as Indigenous ways of living in and engaging with the world. We are proud to say the first of these is by noted indigenous scholar Taiaiake Alfred, Professor of Indigenous Governance and Director of the IGov program at the University of Victoria, British Columbia. Professor Alfred specialises in studies of traditional governance, restoration of land-based cultural practices, and decolonisation strategies. His current research examines the effects of environmental contamination on indigenous cultural practices, with a focus on the Mohawk community of Ahkwesahsne. Professor Alfred works as a consultant to indigenous communities to assess cultural injury due to contamination of the natural environment and to design land-based cultural restoration plans. His book Wasase: indigenous pathways of action and freedom (University of Toronto Press, 2005) was named in 2010 as one of the most influential books in Native Studies by the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association. His diverse writings and intellectual contributions include two other books: Peace, power, righteousness (Oxford University Press, 1999/2009) and Heeding the voices of our ancestors (Oxford University Press, 1995). He has been awarded a Canada Research Chair and a National Aboriginal Achievement Award. Professor Alfred's paper on cultural strength describes the benefits of restoring the place of indigenous knowledge in practice and policy.

Also in this edition we have a major paper from Sarah Cefai, who shares an important examination of the role, value and devaluing of cultural labour in policing. Michael Otim et al. describe how they worked with Indigenous health experts to consider the benefits of developing an Indigenous-specific health metric that accounts for non-individual health benefits such as community empowerment and cultural security. Cliff Goddard and Anna Wierzbicka address the complexities of discussing the Dreaming and, for the first time, the question of properly defining the concept of the Dreamtime using a natural semantic metalanguage (NSM) approach to meaning analysis. …

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