Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies conference

A conference held at the Museum in association with the School of Archaeology and Anthropology, Australian National University, and including perspectives from anthropology, history and material culture studies. A major theme was how local ‘hybrid economies’ develop through Indigenous and settler interaction, and how new complexes of transactions and relations emerge.

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The hybrid economy as political project

Professor Jon Altman, Australian National University

Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies conference, 9 November 2009

Altman introduces his conceptual framework ‘the hybrid economy’, devised as a means to overcome the binary between market/non-market and to explore alternative ways of understanding and practising ‘development’.

economy, indigenous, politics

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Settler economies and Indigenous encounters

Christopher Lloyd, University of New England

Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies conference, 9 November 2009

Christopher Lloyd explores and discusses the development, meaning, use, and usefulness of the concepts of ‘conquest’, ‘hybridity’, and ‘production regimes’ in the field of research into the history of settler/Indigenous relations and their consequences.

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conflict, economy, indigenous, politics

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Indigenous modes of exchange and participation in the Indonesian trepang industry

Daryl Guse, Australian National University

Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies conference, 9 November 2009

Daryl Guse discusses archaeological research in north-western Arnhem Land that indicates early Indigenous participation in and trade with the Indonesian trepang maritime industry, and the adaptability of Indigenous coastal communities.

economy, food, indigenous

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The art of cutting stone: Aboriginal convict labour in 19th-century New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land

Kristyn Harman, University of Tasmania

Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies conference, 9 November 2009

In the first half of the 19th century, at least sixty Aboriginal men from New South Wales were transported as convicts. Kristyn Harman discusses their labours within the convict system, the rationale for putting them to work, and the outcomes.

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colonial, economy, indigenous, work

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‘Always Anangu’ – always enterprising’

Alan O'Connor, University of South Australia

Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies conference, 9 November 2009

Alan O’Connor examines Anangu involvement in economic life from early records pre-contact, through the establishment of the mission Ernabella, in 1937, when dingo scalps were traded for flour, tea and sugar, to the enterprises that emerged in the 1970s.

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economy, indigenous, industry

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Albert Namatjira, camels and cars: the evolution of Indigenous art economies in Central Australia

Alison French, Australian National University

Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies conference, 9 November 2009

Alison French considers the role of camels and cars in the evolution of Namatjira’s art and the ways they fostered and sustained both the practice of art as well as myths and stereotypes that position artists and the economic values of their art.

art, economy, indigenous

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‘Afghans’ and Aborigines in Central Australia

Philip Jones, South Australian Museum

Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies conference, 9 November 2009

Philip Jones explores the relations between Aboriginal people and ‘Afghans’, whose camel trains linked Central Australian outposts with supply centres and markets in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

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colonial, economy, indigenous, industry

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Evidently not!

Mike Pickering, National Museum of Australia

Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies conference, 9 November 2009

Museum collections exaggerate the traditional lives of Indigenous Australians. Here, Mike Pickering seeks to expand Indigenous history to include items that, though the product of western industry, were mostly used by Indigenous workers.

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economy, indigenous, ways of knowing

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Between locals: Interpersonal histories and the Papunya art movement

Peter Thorley and Andy Greenslade, National Museum of Australia

Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies conference, 9 November 2009

Thorley and Greenslade consider Papunya Tula during the 1970s, as Indigenous art became recognised as fine art, and remote markets developed, shaping the art movement. But local markets persisted, and their effect on the movement warrants further study.

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art, economy, indigenous, industry

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The economy of shells: A history of Aboriginal women at La Perouse making shellwork for sale

Maria Nugent, National Museum of Australia

Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies conference, 9 November 2009

Maria Nugent explores the 130-year-long practice of shell-working by Aboriginal women at La Perouse in Sydney’s south, and how the makers have been able to create or find new markets by adapting their products to appeal to new customers.

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art, economy, indigenous, industry, women

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Small Aboriginal community incorporations on shifting ground: A perspective from Ltyentye Apurte Community, Santa Teresa

Judy Lovell, University of Canberra (paper co-authored by Camille Dobson and Veronica Dobson)

Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies conference, 9 November 2009

Judy Lovell describes Keringke Arts Aboriginal Incorporation and the effect of the ‘Emergency Response’ and government reforms; and Ntwerle Aboriginal Incorporation, a new initiative promoting and hosting whitefella leadership training programs.

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art, economy, indigenous, industry

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Before the mission station: The incorporation of settlers into a seasonal economy

John White, Australian National University

Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies conference, 10 November 2009

Exploring intercultural relations in the period of pastoral expansion, John White says that working relationships based on reciprocity enabled Aboriginal people to factor settlers into their seasonal movements and carve out a niche in the settler economy.

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colonial, economy, indigenous

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Workfare, welfare and the hybrid economy: The Western Arrernte in Central Australia

Diane Austin-Broos, University of Sydney

Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies conference, 10 November 2009

A self-proclaimed ‘hybrid economy skeptic’, Diane Austin-Broos offers some reasons why the Western Arrernte’s Community Development Employment Project became ‘welfare’ rather than ‘workfare.’

economy, indigenous, work

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From barter to award wages: Aboriginal labour and Methodist missions in Arnhem Land

Gwenda Baker, Monash University

Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies conference, 10 November 2009

Gwenda Baker traces the history of Aboriginal labour on Methodist missions in Arnhem Land, where award wages led to fewer jobs. While resenting the low wages, some Aborigines see their work on the missions as a highlight of enterprise and achievement.

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economy, indigenous, work

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The 1968–69 introduction of equal wages for Aboriginal pastoral workers in the Kimberley

Fiona Skyring, consultant historian

Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies conference, 10 November 2009

Challenging the idea that equal wages caused mass eviction and unemployment for Aboriginal people, Fiona Skyring looks at other factors such as how government investigations in 1965 and 1966 discouraged station owners from appropriating pension payments.

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economy, indigenous, industry, work

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Unfair pay: Tracing tracker wages in New South Wales, 1862–1950

Michael Bennett, historian, Native Title Service Corp

Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies conference, 10 November 2009

Hundreds of Aboriginal men were employed as police trackers from 1862. They enjoyed a regular income, but the work was risky and the pay and conditions terrible. Michael Bennett describes the system and makes the case for a compensatory scheme.

economy, indigenous, work

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A financial scandal

Ros Kidd, historian and consultant

Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies conference, 10 November 2009

For seven decades the Queensland government intercepted Aboriginal people’s wages, child endowment, pensions, inheritances. It controlled their bank accounts, deducted fees, restricted withdrawals. This was wrong. What are the avenues for redress?

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crime, economy, indigenous

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Understanding Indigenous enterprise on Palm Island: Is resilience more than a metaphor?

Erin Bohensky (paper co-authored by Yiheyis Maru, James Butler, Thomas Stevens, and Kostas Alexandridis)

Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies conference, 10 November 2009

Erin Bohensky applies resilience theory to a proposal for an aquaculture farm as a sustainable enterprise on Palm Island, North Queensland, and adds historical analysis and empirical insights from interviews and photographic surveys.

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economy, indigenous

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Necessity entrepreneurship within a dominant society

Dennis Foley, University of Newcastle

Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies conference, 10 November 2009

Dennis Foley describes two kinds of Indigenous entrepreneur: ‘opportunists’ who seize a concept and use their networks to embark on a business venture, and those who lack capital, so out of ‘necessity’ must adapt to dominant culture to provide the basics.

economy, indigenous, politics

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Demand responsive services and culturally sustainable enterprise in remote Aboriginal settings

Paul Memmott, University of Queensland

Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies conference, 10 November 2009

In a good-practice study of where the Dreamtime meets the market, Paul Memmott discusses the Myuma Group (of three Aboriginal corporations) in far west Queensland, which successfully manages the interplay between demand for and supply of service.

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economy, indigenous, industry

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Social and cultural factors in remote area Indigenous enterprise development

Deirdre Tedmanson (paper co-authored by Bobby Banerjee)

Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies conference, 10 November 2009

Deirdre Tedmanson uses Foucault’s notion of ‘governmentality’ to explore impediments to enterprise development in ‘remote’ homelands and communities on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara lands of South Australia, and ways of overcoming them.

economy, indigenous

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Options for developing a natural resource-based economy in Arnhem Land: Payments for environmental services

Nanni Concu, Australian National University

Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies conference, 10 November 2009

Payments for Environmental Services (PES) are used to simultaneously tackle poverty and environmental degradation. Using data from two field sites, Nanni Concu talks about the potential of PES to promote a natural-resource-based economy in Arnhem Land.

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economy, environment, indigenous

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Animal spirits in the Dreaming and the market: The economic development of caring for country

Geoff Buchanan, Australian National University

Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies conference, 10 November 2009

Are the Dreaming and the Market mutually exclusive? In economics as in anthropology, ‘animal spirits’ are understood to influence outcomes. Geoff Buchanan explores the hybrid economy (customary, market and state) in the context of caring for country.

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economy, indigenous, spirituality

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Policy mismatch and Aboriginal art centres: The tension between economic independence and community development

Gretchen Stolte, Australian National University

Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies conference, 10 November 2009

Gretchen Stolte talks about Aboriginal art centres, arguing that a centre should be funded in accordance with its engagement with the community, because the more community-building it does, the less money it can make.

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economy, indigenous

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Wrap-up and discussion

Ian Keen, anthropologist

Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies conference, 10 November 2009

Ian Keen provides a brief, broad view of the discussions over the two-day conference, its themes and its significance, covering hybrid models, empirical studies and the links between research and practice.

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economy, indigenous

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