The 'society' at bora ceremonies a manifestation of a body of traditional law and custom in aboriginal Australia relevant to native title case law

Date

2012

Authors

Kenny, Anna-Maria

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

Oceania Publications

Abstract

Anthropologists working on native title cases in Australia are commonly asked to identify the Aboriginal 'society' that holds the body of laws and customs that confer land ownership rights on certain groups of people. In this paper I investigate how the early documentation of bora initiation ceremonies is relevant to understanding contemporary Aboriginal societies and the normative laws and customs that give rise to rights and interests in land. The vast ethnographic oeuvre of R.H. Mathews (1841-1918) includes detailed documentation of bora gatherings, which allows the reconstruction of the wider social reaches of people's networks in the lower Darling Downs of eastern Australia, and can in turn be understood as the 'society' so often sought in current native title case law.

Description

Keywords

Keywords: Aboriginal Australia; Bora initiation ceremonies; Laws and customs relating to land-ownership; Native title; Society

Citation

Source

Oceania

Type

Journal article

Book Title

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DOI

Restricted until

2037-12-31