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'White', indigenous and Australian : constructions of mixed identities in today's Australia

Abstract : In the 1990s, Australia set up a ten-year policy of reconciliation aiming at developing a better relationship between Indigenous people and the wider Australian community. This policy was based on the recognition of the enduring dichotomy between both communities despite an increasing acknowledgement of the place of Indigenous people in Australia since the 1970s. The complex relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians – and especially ‘white’ Anglo-Celtic Australians – is the result of the process of colonisation, of the subsequent policies designed to control Indigenous people, and of the historical domination of ‘white’ Australia over Indigenous people. As a result of discriminatory policies, many Indigenous families decided to hide their heritage and ‘passed’ into ‘white’ society. Many mixed-race and fair-skinned children were taken from their families and lost their connection with their Indigenous relatives. Today, an increasing number of Australians choose to identify as Indigenous and to reclaim a heritage they were deprived of. But although having Indigenous heritage is no longer regarded as shameful, the road back to Indigeneity can be a difficult one. This study is the analysis of the identity journeys of eleven Australians who were raised in a ‘white’, Anglo-Celtic Australian culture and who have Indigenous heritage. Their perceptions of Indigeneity are analysed to reveal the dominance of ‘white’ discourses about Indigeneity in today’s Australia, but also the presence of restricting essentialist discourses now used by the Indigenous community to keep control over the definition of Indigenous identity. The analysis of the oppositional relationship between Indigenous and ‘white’ Australians in contemporary Australia reveals the difficulty of embracing both ‘white’ and ‘black’ heritages and of claiming multiple identities.
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  • HAL Id : tel-02093056, version 1


Delphine David. 'White', indigenous and Australian : constructions of mixed identities in today's Australia. History. Université Sorbonne Paris Cité, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017USPCC179⟩. ⟨tel-02093056⟩



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