Download A Higher Authority: Indigenous Transnationalism and by Ravi De Costa PDF

By Ravi De Costa

This significant booklet recovers the lengthy culture of indigenous transnationalism – touch with exterior humans, associations, rules – all through Australia’s historical past from earlier than white cost to the current.

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Extra resources for A Higher Authority: Indigenous Transnationalism and Australia

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It’s not their first time being in Arnhem Land. They represent their ancestors who have been coming to visit my ancestors a long time before any white faces arrived in this continent. We are celebrating this Garma, the topic is ‘Livelihood’. While our Indonesian friends and north-east Arnhem Landers have met for so many centuries, so many years, to trade and carry on this particular thing that we talk about here, at this Garma. 61 HigherAuthority01 32 26/6/06 3:45 PM Page 32 A Higher Authority The varied practices of classical transnationalism discussed so far can be seen very clearly in the shared history of the coastal Aborigines of northern Australia and the very different peoples living in regions to the north.

73 The Yolngu adopted Macassan material culture, including buffalo horn, tobacco and alcohol, and the Macassans’ dug-out canoe technology spread around the coast at the rate of 80–100 kilometres per generation. The Yolngu carved wooden representations of trepang, took Macassan place and personal names, and even made large representations of Macassan camps, which they sculpted into the environment with stones. 74 Aborigines valued highly the material they received. It was anthropologist Donald Thomson who first noticed the Yolngu ‘ceremonial exchange cycles’ between coastal and inland groups, arguing that it was the presence and contact of the Macassans that had shaped this cultural patterning of material and conceptual exchange.

The events of 22–23 January 1830 are particularly revealing: The natives, in attempting to answer my interrogatories, only perplexed me more and more. They evidently wished to explain something, by placing a number of sticks across each other as a kind of diagram of the country. It was, however, impossible to arrive at their meaning. They undoubtedly pointed to the westward, or rather to the south of that point, as the future course of the river; but there was something more that they were anxious to explain, which I could not comprehend … We had proceeded nine miles, when we were surprised by the appearance in view, at the termination of a reach, of a long line of magnificent trees of green and dense foliage.

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