Julie Marcus


It is well-known that the term ‘Australian’ referred originally to the indigenous peoples of Australia, not to the settlers of 1788. The transformation in the meaning of the word was linked to a growing need to develop an identity2 for settlers3 who could never go ‘home’ to Europe, and the change seems to have been complete by about the end of the eighteenth century. The transformation of meaning has had important results for Aboriginal Australians - they have lost the identification of themselves with their country while through it, settler Australians have legitimated their own claim to Aboriginal land. The processes by which meanings are transformed within a political hierarchy, I refer to as cultural appropriation. It is a process which is continuous and one now gathering considerable momentum in Australia.



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