Aboriginal overkill and native burning

Mr John Ford (John.Ford1@JCU.EDU.AU)
Tue, 2 May 1995 12:49:18 +1000

If Kay (?) would like to repost to this side of the Pacific in a
reformatted form the post would be most welcome. The original post took
up over 45,000 bytes - most of us students don't get that size mailbax.

However, the follow-up post provided the opportunity to glean the context.

My own point - 'Wilderness' is a western construction. It is also racist.
The Australian landscape was used by Aborigines long before westerners
arrived. Just because it looks to us non-Aborigines as something wild and
untamed does not mean that it was thus for others. In fact the first
arrivals from Britain were the dregs of that society (and I make no
apologies for using that term) who set about to 'tame' the so-called
'wilderness' in much the same way as they 'tamed' the native Australian
Aborigines - through killing and burning and dispossession.

The environmental lobby groups interested is 'pristine' wilderness need to
talk to the locals - the natives. Their use of the landscape, and in fact
in many instance irretrivable altering that landscape, should indicate
that 'wilderness' is a western construction. By failing to acknowledge
the long association between the land and native peoples reveals a racist
discourse that seeks to 'manage' natives as it seeks to 'manage' wilderness'.

But to suggest such a thing is not ideologically sound in these days of
political correctness - so be it.

john ford