Some months ago, I went for an early morning run with a mate at my fieldsite. After a short trot together, she left for work, and I decided – against all advice from my adopted Aboriginal family and many others – to put off my fieldnotes and continue a few more kilometres on the road alone. A short way up, I saw in the distance a lone figure seemingly dancing about on the road. I was all at once entranced, curious, astonished, and frightened. I turned and returned speedier than ever before!
What would it mean to be no longer ‘in country’ in Australia? How would the legacies of British colonialism, and the attempted extirpation and survival of Australia’s indigenous peoples, be refracted in the experience of living in a new country with a very different colonial past?
The documentaries about Adam Goodes capture and abbreviate an array of events on and off the ground that might make recognising and responding to racism seem straightforward. The release of the films and the ensuing national reflection they appeared to invoke might also give the impression that this chapter in our story is now closed, but I think this is far from true.
Author: Dr. Yasmine Musharbash, senior lecturer in anthropology at the Australian National University. The focus of her ethnographic work has been on Warlpiri people living in Yuendumu, in the Northern Territory, Australia. Her interests include the anthropology of the everyday, human/other-than-human interactions, and the anthropology of emotion. Editorial note: On July 15th 2019, an Australian … Continue reading The arguments against climbing Uluru… and why people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones