Publication Details

Carlson, B. & Frazer, R. (2015). It's like going to a cemetery and lighting a candle: Aboriginal Australians, sorry business and social media. AlterNative: an international journal of indigenous peoples, 11 (3), 211-224.


Death and funeral practices are a constant presence in many Aboriginal Australians’ lives— research in some communities found they are eight times more likely to have attended a funeral in the previous 2 years than non- Aboriginal people. This can be explained by two major factors: inordinately high rates of Aboriginal mortality and cultural practices around death (broadly referred to as Sorry Business). Research in other contexts has found traditions once reserved solely for face- to- face interactions are now also taking place online on social media. This paper draws from interviews conducted with Aboriginal social media users from New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia to explore new cultural expressions of Sorry Business. Drawing from Indigenous standpoint theory as both an entry point for inquiry and a tool for analysis, this paper demonstrates that Aboriginal people participate in a diverse range of online practices related to Sorry Business, including notifi cations of deaths and funerals, offering condolences and extending support, and grieving and healing.