By Diane Bell
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Additional info for Ngarrindjeri Wurruwarrin: A World That Is, Was and Will Be
The peoples of the Lower Murray have had over at least 170 years of accommodation and resistance. They have lived under different political and administrative regimes. Following the 1967 referendum, which gave the federal government concurrent rights with the states to legislate for Aboriginal peoples and required that they be counted in the national census, new spaces and resources have been made available. Federal and state Departments of Aboriginal Affairs have been established. Aboriginal organisations have flourished.
However, I am not under contract to write a particular sort of book. Making this distinction clear in the hostile environment created by adversarial proceedings is extremely difficult, as my exchange with Nicolas Iles demonstrates. I am not willing to accept that all social 36 PROLOGUE relations and all research are to be regulated, monitored, and interpreted by lawyers. But nor do I wish to be sued for a breach of Section 35 of the state Heritage Act. From manuscript to book. The book is divided into two parts which sit between this prologue and an epilogue.
Be relearned? Be reasserted? Can there be a tradition of innovation? Are anthropologists part of the “invention of culture”? The Ngarrindjeri with whom I am working are interested in their culture, in telling the stories of their forebears, in re-learning their language, and in protecting their places. In this sense they are politicised. There is no denying this. But what are the forces shaping their interest and how much do these political forces account for the content of their beliefs? Native American poet Linda Hogan (1987:126) says of her grandmother’s move from an EuroAmerican life back to “a very traditional one in Oklahoma… Maybe any life of resistance to mainstream culture is traditional Indian”.
Ngarrindjeri Wurruwarrin: A World That Is, Was and Will Be by Diane Bell