Hi kvd. I absolutely agree with you on attachment to country. I would also agree that there are elements in Aboriginal culture and lore that could/should be incorporated into broader Australian culture. You have identified some of them.
Just re-summarising my concern, there is a bifurcation in Australia that goes back a long time, has increased in recent years, that essentially places Aboriginal culture in a ghetto. Both sides bear responsibility.
Take art an an example. I was early attracted to Aboriginal art, saw it as Aboriginal but also part of my own heritage as an Australian. It became part of my own visual imagery. And then came a movement that said that Aboriginal art was uniquely and specially attached to the Aborigines. That is obviously true at one level. But the way that it was phrased seemed, at least to me, to say that you, Jim, as a non-Aboriginal person do not have a right to claim that art as part of your own heritage. That is appropriation. You mustn't do it. That places Aboriginal art in a ghetto.
Welcome to country or smoking ceremonies are important, a link between Australia now and the Aboriginal past, but they have become ritualised. Of itself, there is nothing wrong with ritual. The Haka is a ritual. There are equivalent Māori welcomes. But the meaning always isn't clear, despite the efforts of Aboriginal elders to explain it.
In my own way, I have tried to address the issue by making elements of Aboriginal history more accessible to Aboriginal an non-Aboriginal people alike, but I do despair at the constant emphasis on distinction between the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal space.
limited native title recognition over a large part of Western NSW. At both state and national levels, the native total process is complicated and legalistic, something captured in the graphic from @jwwr.
On Monday, the Australian Law Reform Commission is releasing its report into native title legislation.'Connection to Country: Review of the Native Title Act'. I suspect that will highlight some serious issues. For the moment I just note that whatever the imperfections, we have native title legislation because of Aboriginal campaigning that drew support from the broader community.
Again as I write, the Commonwealth special Parliamentary Committee inquiring into recognition of Indigenous Australians in the constitution is due to report. I support constitutional recognition, although the best form is far from clear to me.
On 18 May 2015, Recognise released survey results suggesting that if the RECOGNISE referendum were held today, 75 percent of all Australians and 87 percent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people say they would vote Yes. This was attacked by Indigenous X.who reported their own on-line survey suggesting that a majority of Aboriginal people would actually vote no. On 24 June, Recognise responded on their blog, suggesting that the on-line results were unrepresentative, that the methodology and promotion of the survey actually attracted those who were opposed. I suspect that's right.
Aboriginal Provisional Government that some activists have been trying to use for travel purposes. And yes, as so often happens, there is a new England connection! Callum Clayton-Dixon has Anaiwan connections. I actually made a small donation to help fund his and Boe Spearim's 2014 trip to Canada. It's not that I agree with him, simply that I wanted the voices heard. It also seemed rather fun.
Returning to my point, While I think that Recognise is right in their assessment of the on-line survey, the feeds that come constantly across my screen show that there is considerable diversity in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander views. That's hardly surprising.
In my writing, I have made the point many times about diversity in Aboriginal Australia. While the smaller Torres Strait Islander group gets annoyed about their sometimes non-recognition in discussion, they have an identified home that belongs to them all. That is not true of Aboriginal Australians beyond the total continent. You have many different groups with differing cultures and connections to country, groups that have been affected in many different ways by European invasion across space and time. Now we want to deal with them as a single unit based on varying current perceptions. They try to respond in kind. It's actually very hard.
Trying, in conclusion, to bring this discussion together.
We need better integration of non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal Australians, not integration in the way that word has often been used, but integration in the sense that gives me permission as a non-Aboriginal Australian, permission to share, to identify, to adopt. On a very personal note, working as a non-Aboriginal person in an Aboriginal space, I have sometimes felt very excluded.
We have to recognise diversity and allow time for views to evolve.The current discussion on Aboriginal recognition in the constitution is actually a top-down discussion. You can see that in the wording used. It's locked in to current perceptions.
On the constitution, that's Australia's supreme law. If we are going to get anything through, it has to be minimalist. This is where I agree with Noel Pearson. Use the constitution as a minimum base, then get further changes through in declarations and legislation based on that base. Then, if necessary, look to further changes to the constitution.
You can find the Parliamentary Committee report here. Meantime, the Yaegl people from the Lower Clarence have had their native title claim recognised.
I mentioned that there were different views in the Aboriginal community. This is another example from First Nations Telegraph. .