Asserting cultural interests through the law: issues and innovations
While well-intentioned people may generally agree that Indigenous peoples' culture should be respected, precisely what this means is far from clear. Australia's 700,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander citizens ('Indigenous Australians') are culturally diverse, with around 250 distinct language groups recorded to date. Different individuals and groups may have different interests in relation to their culture. Examples include the maintenance of culture, the development of culture within a traditional context, the capacity to secure socio-economic opportunities and the right to make decisions about culture. Each interest involves different issues, and recognition of some may come at a cost to others.