Richard J. Martin, ‘Reconfiguring indigeneity in the mainland Gulf country: Mimicry, mimesis, and the colonial exchange of difference’, The Australian Journal of Anthropology
Abstract: This paper explores the meaning of indigeneity in the southern Gulf country by focusing upon a group of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people who claim as a common ancestor a pioneering non-Aboriginal pastoralist. This early settler established a large cattle property on the Northern Territory/Queensland border at the end of the nineteenth century, where he participating in frontier violence as well as attempts to resolve such violence and promote more peaceable relations through various kinds of exchange, including the common-law marriage of his part-Aboriginal son to the daughter of a local Aboriginal leader. Drawing on Taussig’s reflections on the economy of mimesis and alterity in colonial exchange, I analyse the ways in which different kinds of connections to the property in question have been phrased by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal descendants of this man, as well as other local people, from first settlement in the 1860s through to the contemporary moment, when multiple and overlapping assertions of indigenous belonging by Aboriginal people intersect with articulations of an emergent autochthony amongst non-Aboriginal Australians with long histories of residence in the area.
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