Land, Heritage & Identity: A
Holistic View
Lecture Format
Relationship between land, heritage &
Holistic view of land & heritage
Framework for analysing Indigenous rights
Key factors that need to be considered in
understanding Indigenous land relations
 An awarness of the extent to which imported constructs
have been used to catagorise, classify and to create
stereotypical notions of Indigneous identity and culture.
 Aboriginal culture in its proper time perspective-past &
present as one holistic continum
 The concept of change adaption & continuity - an evolving
process familiar to any cultural system
 The existence of an ongoing-living culture that continues to
survive and maintain its connections with the ancestral
lands (Beattie,J. Other Cultures: Aims, Methods &
Achievements, 1964:241-264).
Nature of Relationship between Land Culture &
Identity-Indigenous Voices
Mick Dodson describes the relationship
between land culture and identity, as one,
the heart of which ‘is deeply rooted in our
traditions, our knowledges, and the lands
which we have inherited from our
Take away land, and you take away our
soul and identity as a people’ (Dodson, M. 1994:
Holistic connections with
the Land
Everything about Aboriginal society is
inextricably interwoven and connected to the
land. Culture is the land…our reason ofr
existence is the land. You take that away and
you take away our reason for existence. We
have grown the land up. We are
dancing,singing,painting for the land. We are
celebrating the land. Removed from the land we
are literally removed from ourselves (Mick Dodson,
Understanding Indigenous culture
Many non-Indigenous people have
attempted to bridge the gap of crosscultural understanding.
In his portrait of the Dreaming, Professor
Stanner argues that a greater appreciation
can be achieved by unlocking ourselves
from western categories of understanding
and viewing Indigenous culture and land
relations from the Indigenous perspective
Learning how to ‘think black’ is way to
more complete undertanding (Stanner, 1987:225).
Frans Hoogland
‘We [non-Indigenous people] don’t
see the connections of all things. We
put all the birds into a box-they are
birds. We put all the rocks in a box —
they are rocks. But they are one and
we are a part of it. We all make up
the living country’ (Hoogland, 1999:11- 21).
The Holistic Approach to Understanding
Indigenous Culture
 The holistic approach to understanding natural
and cultural values is one of the trademarks of
David Attenborough's work.
 He creates his sense of story by focusing on the
relationship between things: between animal and
plants, between humans and the earth.
 It is this sense of the way everything relates, and
Attenborough’s ability to create a sense of
poetry out of the natural world that makes his
nature documentaries so special ( The Age, 29
March 2003:22).
Fences & Site Protection-Barmah Forest
Framework for Analysing Land and Heritage
Framework drawn from human rights principles of racial
equality and justice before the law,which will be used to:
Critically assess the way that common law notions of
property rights have been applied in relation to Indigenous
land and heritage rights and to
Identify the barriers to land justice following the historic
Mabo decision.
Key Rights Being Asserted
right to land & resources
right to practice, revitalise and transmit
Right to control & ownership of cultural
International Instruments
Convention for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
(CERD) which will be used to assess the degree of
equality that Indigenous Australians enjoy in the
ownership and control of their land and heritage
International Convention on Civil and Political Rights,
which affirms the principle of self determination and the
right of peoples to have control over their social,
economic and cultural affairs
Working Group on Indigenous
Peoples (WGIP)
The United Nations' Draft Declaration on the
Rights of Indigenous Peoples (1997) (Article 12)
which affirms the right of Indigenous peoples to
have control of their cultural traditions and
customs and to have their cultural property
returned to them. Article 29 states that:
Indigenous people are entitled to the recognition
of full ownership, control and protection of their
cultural and intellectual property.
Indigenous Rights
Draft Declaration on The Human Rights of
Indigenous Peoples,1993
Produced by members of the Indigenous
Working Group, UN Commission on
Human Rights

Week 3: Land, Heritage and Identity: A Holistic View