Mabo in a World Perspective: Recognizing Aboriginal Title (Images of Aboriginality) - Arena Journal

Mabo in a World Perspective: Recognizing Aboriginal Title (Images of Aboriginality)

By Arena Journal

  • Release Date - Published: 2006-09-22
  • Book Genre: Religion & Spirituality
  • Author: Arena Journal
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Mabo in a World Perspective: Recognizing Aboriginal Title (Images of Aboriginality) Arena Journal read online review & book description:

Peter H. Russell's recent book Recognizing Aboriginal Title: The Mabo Case and Indigenous Resistance to English Settler Colonialism has been a long time coming, but it has been well worth the wait. (1) I met Peter Russell in the mid-1990s when he visited me at James Cook University to discuss the research he was undertaking, which is broadly indicated in the title of this book. Like most academics, I had a regular stream of students and academics drop in on me to discuss their work. Peter Russell, a political scientist from the University of Toronto, was certainly one of the most impressive academics I met in this way. I soon realized that something important would result from his inquiries, but I was puzzled about his interest in the details of Edward Koiki Mabo's life (Koiki Mabo, as he was known to friends and relatives). How might he use the personal material I had included in my Mabo biography (2) in his searching analysis, which stretched back over five hundred years and across many countries? He was clearly interested in the minutiae of Mabo's life, as well as the significance of the High Court challenge to the Mabo legislation. Who had desecrated Mabo's grave? Where was the map of Queensland I had used twenty years earlier to show Eddie Mabo that the Torres Strait Islands, including his beloved Mer, were marked as an Aboriginal Reserve and therefore not owned in Australian law by the Torres Strait Islanders? Recognizing Aboriginal Title is not just a traditional academic study. Eddie Mabo and those with whom he interacted in his struggle for justice are not just names on pages or in references. They emerge as characters themselves, caught up in a complex drama more important than any could have fully realized at the time. And the life of their friend, or acquaintance, Eddie Mabo is the measure of the challenge that history had posed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their tortuous struggle to destroy the white man's legal fiction of terra nullius. It was only after such a struggle that the Australian nation might acknowledge and come to terms with the original invasion and forced dispossession of the peoples who had owned and occupied the land 'since time immemorial'.

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