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White Australian identities and Indigenous land rights

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Land has been central to debates about the relationship between Indigenous (First Nations) and non-Indigenous Australian identities since colonial violence founded the nation. How do white Australians understand Indigenous land rights? This paper draws on an empirical ethnographic study with rural people who self-identify as ‘white Australian’ to analyze the key discourses of land, identity and nation and the complexities of how whiteness and race is socially produced and lived in rural Australia. The study found that white Australian discourses of nation and identity limit most of the respondents' ability to construct their identity in relation to Indigenous sovereignty.
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Keywords: Australian identity; colonialism; identity; indigenous relations; nation; race

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Northern Institute: People, Policy, Place, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT, Australia

Publication date: March 4, 2015

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