The colonial history of Australia has been a struggle between Indigenous peoples and the colonisers over Country. This is often represented as a struggle over land – it's control and use. Yet, for Indigenous people, land was never simply an economic commodity to be exploited. It was and is ‘Country’ in a deeper sense of the word, a fundamental part of Indigenous cosmology and a necessary foundation to a person's and group's ontology or being in the world. Country, then, can be conceptualised as both a physical and metaphysical domain. Indeed, both domains are inseparably intertwined. The struggle over Country remains core to understanding the social and political place of Indigenous people within Aboriginal law and within the criminal law and institutions of the coloniser. Further, this ongoing struggle goes to the heart of understanding why Indigenous people start their discussions on reform and change within the criminal justice system with a demand for recognition, negotiation and respect for Indigenous self-determination and a demand to see Indigenous people as colonised peoples.
Cunneen, C. (2021), "Cartographies of Place", Harkness, A. and White, R. (Ed.) Crossroads of Rural Crime, Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 31-44. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-80043-644-220211003
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