Mapping local and regional governance: reimagining the New South Wales Aboriginal sector

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Heidi Norman
Therese Apolonio
Maeve Parker


With reference to four case study localities in New South Wales, this paper offers new insights into calls from Indigenous Australians for recognition within the national political discourse. Examining the literature on the history of the Aboriginal sector that emerged following the 1970s self-determination policy era, this paper argues earlier conceptions of the ‘Aboriginal sector’ are insufficient and do not grasp the wider shift that Aboriginal people seek within the political life of the nation. Instead, the four case studies reveal Aboriginal initiative and interest in creating a sense of association and being, drawing on pre-colonial patterns of identification and shaped by new imaginings of ‘nations’ and ‘political communities’.

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Articles (refereed)