Aboriginal Sovereignty: Reflections on Race, State, and Nation

Front Cover
Allen & Unwin, 1996 - 221 pages
This book is a provocative study of the relations between indigenous Australians and mainstream society. It presents a new interpretation of Aboriginal political development. Aboriginal sovereignty is is considered in the light of customary law and current political and constitutional discussion in Australia and overseas.


Assessment of Aboriginal society
Were Aboriginal tribes sovereigns?
Customary law
How did Australia become British?
Law and history
Selfgovernment autonomy and treaties
Nations and states in international law and politics

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 164 - In accordance with the Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation Among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, this shall not be construed as authorizing or encouraging any action which would dismember or impair, totally or in part, the territorial integrity or political unity of sovereign and independent States...
Page 77 - For it hath been held, that if an uninhabited country be discovered and planted by English subjects, all the English laws then in being, which are the birth-right of every subject, are immediately there in force.
Page 125 - And whereas it is just and reasonable, and essential to our Interest, and the Security of our Colonies, that the several Nations or Tribes of Indians with whom We are connected, and who live under our Protection...
Page 158 - The first is to ensure that nationals belonging to racial, religious or linguistic minorities shall be placed in every respect on a footing of perfect equality with the other nationals of the State. The second is to ensure for the minority elements suitable means for the preservation of their racial peculiarities, their traditions and their national characteristics.
Page 164 - Any attempt aimed at the partial or total disruption of the national unity and the territorial integrity of a country is incompatible with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
Page 126 - They were, and always have been, regarded as having a semi-independent position when they preserved their tribal relations; not as States, not as nations, not as possessed of the full attributes of sovereignty, but as a separate people, with the power of regulating their internal and social relations, and thus far not brought under the laws of the Union or of the State within whose limits they resided.
Page 158 - The idea underlying the treaties for the protection of minorities is to secure for certain elements incorporated in a state, the population of which differs from them in race, language or religion, the possibility of living peaceably alongside that population and cooperating amicably with it, while at the same time preserving the characteristics which distinguish them from the majority, and satisfying the ensuing special needs.
Page 159 - It is essential to recognize the right of members of national minorities to carry on their own educational activities, including the maintenance of schools and, depending on the educational policy of each State, the use or the teaching of their own language, provided however: i.
Page 164 - Nothing in the foregoing paragraphs shall be construed as authorizing or encouraging any action which would dismember or impair, totally or in part, the territorial integrity or political unity of sovereign and independent States conducting themselves in compliance with the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples as described above and thus possessed of a government representing the whole people belonging to the territory without distinction as to race, creed or colour.
Page 159 - In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities exist, persons belonging to such minorities shall not be denied the right, In com^munity with the other members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practice their own religion, or to use their own language.

About the author (1996)

Henry Reynolds, the best-known historian of Aboriginal Australia, has a string of bestsellers to his name, including The Other Side Of The Frontier, Frontier, The Law Of The Land and With The White People.

Bibliographic information