Defining 'Indigenous': Between Culture and Biology

Stephen Pritchard


Abstract

This essay considers a range of discourses on identity and the definition of culture. I have little doubt that, generally speaking, Indigenous people are quite capable of defining the meaning of ‘Indigenous person’ or ‘culture’ in a way that satisfies their specific immediate needs and interests. My concern here is with the definition of ‘Aboriginal or Indigenous person’ in Australian law and legislation and with the critical response, by members of the scientific community as well as cultural theorists, to references to a biological basis of identity.

Keywords

Australia; law and legislation; Aboriginal people; culture

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