Accommodating Difference? The Socio-Politics of an Aboriginal Fringe Camp in a Small North Australian Town

By Sarah Holcombe and Will Sanders.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

By exploring the socio-political history of a fringe camp in a small Northern Territory town the colonial structures that reinforce separation and marginality are revealed. That this town is surrounded by Aboriginal freehold land and serviced by a predominantly Aboriginal Council speaks of the complex interleaving of Aboriginal and settler interests. These interests have been formed through the violent history of the pastoral frontier in this region. Yet, there is also Indigenous agency in the choice of creek campers to live on the fringes of the town. Indeed, some have been doing so for as long as they can recall and actively state that they have no desire to live in a formal house in the township. Balancing a universal human rights perspective (that considers “conditioned satisfaction”, for instance) with that of a culturally and locally informed agency is a key challenge articulated in this paper.

Keywords: Colonisation, Marginality, Agency, Australian Aboriginal People, Town Camps

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp.339-348. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 680.749KB).

Dr. Sarah Holcombe

Coordinator and Research Fellow, Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre (DK CRC) and Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, Australian National University (ANU), Canberra, ACT, Australia

Sarah Holcombe is the Social Science Coordinator for the Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre (DKCRC) and a Research Fellow at CAEPR, primarily working on the ICG Project. She was previously post doctoral fellow at CAEPR for 3 years. Prior to that, she worked for the Central and Northern Land Councils as a social anthropologist working on a diverse range of issues.

Dr. Will Sanders

Australian National University (ANU), ACT, Australia

Will Sanders is a political scientist at The Australian National University who has been undertaking research in various aspects of Indigenous affairs policy since 1981. He joined the staff of the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR) at The Australian National University in 1993, where he is now a Senior Fellow. Will is a Chief Investigator on the Indigenous Community Governance Project (ICGP), an ARC Linkage Project between CAEPR and Reconciliation Australia.

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