Rebuilding the Jawoyn Nation: Regional Agreements, Spatial Politics and Aboriginal Self-Determination in Katherine, Northern Territory

By Gibson, Chris | Australian Aboriginal Studies, Spring 1999 | Go to article overview

Rebuilding the Jawoyn Nation: Regional Agreements, Spatial Politics and Aboriginal Self-Determination in Katherine, Northern Territory


Gibson, Chris, Australian Aboriginal Studies


Introduction

Since the High Court's 1992 `Mabo' decision, and the passing of the Native Title Act 1993, many Indigenous groups in Australia have sought the means by which more holistic approaches to self-determination can be pursued. Aboriginal organisations in areas such as the Kimberley, Cape York, the Torres Strait and Arnhem Land have developed strategies which involve direct negotiations with Australian governments in an attempt to `recognise Indigenous rights and to protect them in a contemporary legal system' (Coombs 1994; Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation 1994; Craig and Jull 1994, 3; Pearce 1994; Toussaint 1992; Yu 1994). Many proposals for negotiations between the state and Indigenous groups are based on the experiences of indigenous people in Canada, including the formation of the Nunavut agreement between the Inuit of the former North West Territories and the Canadian government (Jull 1994a and 1994b; Pearson and Sanders 1995; Richardson et al 1995). The Canadian government has based its resolution of outstanding indigenous land tenure issues on a principle of approaching indigenous groups in a case-by-case fashion, negotiating `settlements' or `agreements' on a regional basis across a range of concerns. For some, land tenure may be of prime importance; in other contexts, access to mineral wealth, structures for the provision of services or, alternatively, environmental protection may figure highly in settlements (Bartlett 1991). Importantly, this approach relies on the presence of treaties signed between colonists and indigenous communities in Canada throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, that imply a sovereign status of `First Nations' communities (McNeil 1997). Prospects for regional agreements in Australia, where such recognition is absent, were enhanced by the inclusion of provisions in the Commonwealth's Native Title Act 1993 (Section 21 (1)b), for the possibility of comprehensive negotiations between groups based on a recognition of Indigenous rights (French 1995 and 1996).

Subsequently, regional agreements have been integrated into many Indigenous strategies for self-determination, a common component of which is the resolution of Indigenous rights to land title within the nation-state--a `settlement' of disparate knowledge systems and `geopolitical' paradigms (see Verran 1995). The terms `geopolitics' and `geopolitical' are used here to describe political strategies that are articulated in spatial ways--that rely heavily not only on ideological or ethical principles, but on the exercise of these principles in and across real, physical localities. Because of the importance of `territory' in Aboriginal land rights issues, I will argue here that regional agreements are therefore inherently `geopolitical' in their application. Yet potential agreements between Indigenous people and governments could also integrate resolution of other relevant issues beyond ownership, including uses of traditional land and seas; resource management; control of the nature and/or delivery of services; the recognition of Indigenous law and governing structures; and other social and cultural issues (Crough 1995). As Crough (1992) demonstrates, possibilities for financially autonomous Aboriginal self-government as part of negotiated regional agreements should also be explored. Structures of Aboriginal governance could be guaranteed recurrent funding for the control and/or delivery of services through the Commonwealth Grants Commission's present mechanisms of fiscal equalisation. Other scholars, meanwhile, have considered the economic potential for such agreements being generated through negotiations with resource developers and a range of other actors (Courchene 1993). However, optimism surrounding resource-based regional agreements is somewhat tempered by previous experiences, in the Top End of the Northern Territory and elsewhere, where dealing with large international mining companies and issues of royalties, access and environmental management have remained consistent problems (Altman 1994a and 1994b; O'Faircheallaigh 1995a and 1995b; Pritchard and Gibson 1996). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Rebuilding the Jawoyn Nation: Regional Agreements, Spatial Politics and Aboriginal Self-Determination in Katherine, Northern Territory
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.