In struggles over access to land, Aboriginal women's concerns have often remained unacknowledged. Their words - and silences - have been frequently misheard, misunderstood, misrepresented, misused.
The controversy about 'secret women's business' in the Hindmarsh Island Bridge conflict has brought this issue to the attention of the general public. How can Aboriginal women assert their claims while protecting, by remaining silent, their culturally sensitive knowledge? How can they prevent their words and silences being misrepresented?
Words and Silences explores the barriers confronting Aboriginal women trying to defend their land rights. The contributors to this volume provide insights into the intricacies of Aboriginal social and cultural knowledge, and introduce the reader to different understandings of how the gendered nature of Aboriginal land ownership adds complexity to the cross-cultural encounter. In lively and engaging prose they document the ongoing struggles of Aboriginal women across Australia, who are fighting to ensure they receive due recognition of their rights in land.
Table of Contents
1 Aboriginal women, politics and land - Peggy Brock
2 'Speaking what our mothers want us to say': Aboriginal women, land and the Western Women's Council in NSW, 1984-85 - Heather Goodall
3 Seeking justice: Traditions of social action amongst indigenous women in the south west of Western Australia - Pat Baines
4 Aboriginal women and the Commonwealth Government's response to Mabo: An international human rights perspective - Hannah McGlade
5 The silence and power of women - Deborah Bird Rose
6 Gendered landscapes: The politics and processes of inquiry and negotiating interests in land - Sandy Toussaint, Myrna Tonkinson, David Trigger
Peggy Brock has worked with Aboriginal communities in South Australia, researching community histories and documenting Aboriginal historic sites. She lectures at Edith Cowan University in Aboriginal Studies and History and has published a number of works, including Women Rites and Sites (ed. 1989) and Outback Ghettos (1993). This new book includes contributions from historians, anthropologists and Aboriginal activists.