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Aboriginal Autonomy

After more than two hundred years, one of the most important moral issues facing Australian society in the 1990s remains the need for reconciliation with its indigenous people. In this selection of essays, H. C. Coombs reflects on the nature of Aboriginal identity and the importance of autonomy for Australia's Aboriginal people. He also suggests strategies by which self-determination might be achieved in practice. Many of the chapters have been written especially for this volume - including one in which Dr Coombs makes a thoughtful and provocative contribution to the Mabo debate, linking the High Court's historic 1992 decision on native title to prospects for Aboriginal autonomy. Dr Coombs writes with the conviction that 'mainstream' Australia stands to gain as much, if not more, than Aboriginal people from the fulfilment of Aboriginal aspirations. It is a personal and passionate plea for a just society, from one of white Australia's most influential and eloquent advocates of self-determination for its indigenous people.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; Foreword; Preface; Part I. The Aboriginal World View: 1. The making of Aboriginal identity; Part II. Aborigines and the Land: 2. The future of the homeland movement; 3. Warlpiri land use and management; 4. The implications of land rights; Part III. Aboriginal Lifestyles: 5. Economic, social and spiritual factors in Aboriginal health; 6. Aboriginal education and the issues underlying Aboriginal deaths in custody; 7. Aboriginal work and economy; Part IV. Aborigines, Resources, and Development: 8. The ideology of development in the East Kimberley; 9. Aborigines and resources: from 'humbug' to negotiation; 10. The McArthur River development: a case in point; Part V. Aborigines, Law and the State: 11. The Yirrkala proposals for the control of law and order; 12. Aboriginal political leadership and the role of the National Aboriginal Conference; 13. Aborigines and the Treaty of Waitangi; Part VI. Asserting Autonomy: Recent Aboriginal Initiatives: 14. Aboriginal initiatives on the land; 15. Initiatives in Aboriginal political organisation; 16. Education: taking control; Part VII. The Recognition of Native Title: 17. The Mabo decision: a basis for Aboriginal autonomy?; Conclusion: negotiating future autonomy; References; Select bibliography of work by H. C. Coombs; Appendix; Index.


'... fine blend of academic (mainly anthropological) writing and a passionate political plea for a just society in which there must be room for autonomy for the indigenous population.' Bijdragen

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