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Ethical non-Indigenous citizenry: Possibilities and implications for research

posted on 2020-07-02, 00:00 authored by Mary-Frances O'DowdMary-Frances O'Dowd
Australian citizenry is a taken for granted construction of the non-Indigenous nation-state. In colonial to settler-colonial contexts citizenry is typically conceptualised and discussed as something Indigenous peoples were excluded from, or included in, and/or the limits of that inclusion. The taken for granted assumption and discourse is that the nation-state confers and controls citizenry. This paper recognises that in settler-colonial contexts non-Indigenous (NI) people are not citizens of Indigenous lands. In recognising the enduring sovereignty of Indigenous nations, citizenship of the nation-state is unsettled. Recognising absent citizenship enables thinking into practices that moves toward NI self-decolonisation (recognising that decolonisation, as defined by Tuck & Yang (2012:1), is a process leading to ‘…repatriation of Indigenous land and life’). Furthermore, the teaching of Indigenous scholars appear to support that decolonisation requires the action of ‘speaking-back’ to dominant and taken for granted non-Indigenous discourse to ensure Indigenous human rights (e.g. Moreton-Robinson, 2000). Citizenry might be better understood as positioned in what Nakata (2007) terms ‘a cultural interface’ with Indigenous people. Such a space behoves a necessary NI speaking-back into her own cultural hegemony. This paper is the exploration what it may mean for non-Indigenous practice to aspire to become non-Indigenous citizens of sovereign Indigenous nations and its implications for non-Indigenous action in research. The paper is positioned as a presentation for dialogue.


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Brisbane, Queensland

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Peer Reviewed

  • Yes

Open Access

  • Yes

Cultural Warning

This research output may contain the names and images of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people now deceased. We apologize for any distress that may occur.

Era Eligible

  • No

Name of Conference

AIATSIS National Indigenous Research Conference 2019