Self-representation and Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory: Implications for archaeological research

22nd January 2014

Northern Territory languages with more than 100 speakers (published in Australian Archaeology 43:9).

Northern Territory languages with more than 100 speakers (published in Australian Archaeology 43:9).

Peter Thorley

Introduction*

Recent criticisms of ethnographic practice have focused attention on the way Aborigines (among other groups) are represented in anthropological literature (Carrier 1992, 1995; Myers 1986a; Rose 1992; Toussaint 1994, 1996). In archaeology, the notion of representation has been raised in relation to issues such as ownership of the past (McBryde 1985), the role of Indigenous communities in archaeological research (Pardoe 1992) and in the context of current theoretical discussions within the discipline (Hodder 1991; Smith 1995). It has been suggested recently that Australia is responding to broader trends in adopting reflexive approaches to archaeology, approaches which are directed toward the analysis of the author’s role, placing particular emphasis on the production of texts (Burke et al. 1994). My main concern here is with the practical implications of these ideas, that is, how they apply in the face to face situations in which archaeologists working in remote Australia are typically engaged. In this paper, examples are drawn from Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory to illustrate the complexities of self-representation through archaeological research.

*Note that an abstract was not included with this paper, and so the introductory paragraph has been included here instead of the abstract.

Thorley, P.
Self-representation and Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory: Implications for archaeological research
December 1996
43
7–12
Article
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