Accommodating Difference? The Socio-Politics of an Aboriginal Fringe Camp in a Remote Australian Town
The marginalisation of Aboriginal people in remote Australia is reflected in a contemporary Aboriginal fringe camp (referred to as Creek camp) in a Central Australian town. By exploring the socio-political history of this place, 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 non-Aboriginal interests. These interests have been formed through the violent history of the pastoral frontier in this region and the influences of the Lutheran church. Yet, there is also 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 a structured suburb – as exists across the highway within 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
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)