Cross-cultural encounters: reconceptualising shared histories on the Bundian Way
2020, 2020 The Institute of Postcolonial Studies. The Bundian project is an initiative of the Eden Local Aboriginal Land Council on the far south coast of New South Wales, Australia. Aboriginal Elders and activists working on the project are restoring an Aboriginal pathway that stretches from the coast to the high country. This article examines the experiences of four young Aboriginal men employed to work on the project. Drawing on qualitative research, I analyse how these young men are using and reconceptualising settler histories of early cross-cultural encounters to propose new ways of living well in settler-colonial Australia and to contest the dominant settler historiography that has positioned Indigenous people as either 'violent, ignoble savages' or the fading victims of colonisation. In their rearticulation through the project, these stories of early cross-cultural relations are reclaimed as powerful critical histories of settler colonisation. Through this project, Aboriginal people are critically interrogating discourses of settler colonisation while opening up new historical spaces that speak to the 'truth' of Aboriginal lived experience in contemporary Australia.