Aboriginals had no concept of ownership?

Keiran Stewart-Assheton

11 January 2020  · Something they incorrectly teach you in school is “Aboriginals had no concept of ownership”. Concepts of ownership were lost in translation, Aboriginals were portrayed as having no concepts of ownership and that was played upon by the Europeans to justify Terra Nullius.But you see the thing is, we did have concepts of ownership of land. You couldn’t go hunting in a neighbouring nation without their permission, you couldn’t go walking into another mobs camp without permission, you couldn’t take from another mobs land without permission. Any of these things and many more would be justification for a spear in the leg.We did have concepts of ownership of land, they were just different from the capitalist buy and sell concepts of treating the land like a commodity. They weren’t concepts of private ownership, but communal and personal ownership.The best way to explain it is using the mother analogy. You don’t ‘own’ your mother, yet she is not everyone’s mother, she is ‘your’ mother. She can’t be sold or bought. Not everyone can enjoy her parenting, her love, her caring and her nurturing, that is reserved for you and your siblings. Our ownership of land was much the same, it wasnt yours to exploit, to buy or to sell. It was for you and your siblings to bond with, to defend and protect. It was for you and your siblings to be nurtured by and nurture in return.This is why we say “always was and always will be Aboriginal land”, because despite who holds the title deed, where my mother works or who she works for, she will still be my mother.

Roy Hanfling
your piece is well written thanks, I am inspiredMy understanding of the relationship between the land and people is similarWe don’t own land the land owns usandPeople might well make agreements about how to look after and share the land but that’s not “ownership”In “our” culture as you probably know this idea comes from anarchist thinkersThe Capitalists have it very wrong and their concept is very destructiveI like the mother analogy as well, it prompts me to remember that our mother might have more than one child and that we are brothers 🙂thankyou



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