Mabo, music and culture

Loos, Noel (2005) Mabo, music and culture. In: Magowan, Fiona, and Neuenfeldt, Karl, (eds.) Landscapes of Indigenous Performance: music, song and dance of the Torres Strait and Arnhem Land. Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra, ACT, Australia, pp. 51-56.

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[Extract] On 3 June 1992 the High Court of Australia ruled in favour of Torres Strait Islander Edward Koiki Mabo in the case, Mabo and Others v. the State of Queensland.1 This destroyed the legal doctrine of terra nullius by which Australia had been colonised, according to which the Indigenous people of Australia were too uncivilised to own land and use it in a way the British colonists could accept. They thought the Aboriginal economy was parasitic, that they did not use the land, they did not live in settled communities, and that they were devoid of anything that could be termed a religion; in short, that their lifestyle was subhuman. Many colonists believed Indigenous Australians themselves were inherently subhuman. The concept of terra nullius was applied between 1770, when Captain Cook and Sir Joseph Banks made their observations of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders on the east coast of Australia, and 1837, when definitive statements were issued by the British Colonial office rejecting finally, it seemed, any acknowledgments of Aboriginal ownership. Torres Strait Islanders were regarded as Aborigines at that time, and until well into the twentieth century. Most Australians were unaware that they were a distinct Melanesian people until the Border Dispute of the 1970s between the Commonwealth and the Papua New Guinea governments.

Item ID: 7400
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-0-85575-493-8
Date Deposited: 21 Jan 2010 04:42
FoR Codes: 21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2103 Historical Studies > 210399 Historical Studies not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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