Sarah Maddison

It is now well accepted that the invasion and colonisation of the Indigenous territories we call ‘Australia’ are emblematic of a particular type of colonialism. A settler colony, unlike, say, an extractive colony (where Indigenous peoples may be exploited in pursuit of resources but where permanent settlement does not necessarily follow), seeks to establish a new society on an acquired territory (regardless of the means by which that territory was acquired), intentionally displacing and eliminating the Indigenous inhabitants. In settler colonial societies, the settler came to stay.

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In the wake of the 2017 Uluru Statement from the Heart, truth-telling has gained new currency in Australia. The Statement called for a ‘Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations and truth-telling about our history’.  Although yet to be fleshed out in any detail, the renewed call for truth-telling has been greeted with enthusiasm by many First Nations peoples and their allies around the continent, who endorse the view that shining the bright light of truth into the darkest recesses of Australian history will contribute to a transformation in Indigenous–settler relations.

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‘Fuck Australia, I hope it fucking burns to the ground.’ Sarah Maddison opens this book by quoting Tarneen Onus-Williams, the young Indigenous activist who sparked a brief controversy when her inflammatory comments about ...

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Australia remains alone among the settler colonies for its lack of treaties with First Nations. This is despite the fact that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia have been calling for a treaty for decades – since at least the 1970s and then more forcefully during the Treaty ’88 Campaign ...

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