First Nations

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First World, First Nations

Internal Colonialism and Indigenous Self-Determination in Northern Europe and Australia

In the series
First Nations and the Colonial Encounter

Günter Minnerup has been teaching, and extensively publishing on, modern European history for over thirty years. He was Director of the Centre for European Studies at UNSW Sydney 2006–2007, in this capacity organiser of the conference on which this book is based. He is involved with Australian Indigenous issues in various ways, for example through the History Council of NSW (member of judging panel for Indigenous History Fellowship).

Pia Solberg is currently writing her PhD thesis comparing indigenous development in Australia and Norway.

The Sami people of Northern Europe and Aboriginal Australians are literally a world apart in geographical terms, yet share a common fate as Indigenous minorities
emerging from centuries of internal colonisation. Their ancient cultures and languages severely eroded by policies of forced assimilation, their traditional lifestyles and
economies damaged, and their political voices marginalised, recent decades have seen their struggles for collective survival rise to political prominence in national and international agendas, with the promise of Indigenous self-determination held out by national governments and the United Nations Declaration of Rights for Indigenous Peoples.

Both the Sami and Indigenous Australians have won important new rights during these decades, yet the outcomes are very different. In this volume – the only collection of essays specifically on the Indigenous peoples of Australia and Northern Europe – the similarities and differences between the Indigenous experiences in the Nordic countries and Australia are explored by renowned experts in the field including Indigenous authors. Some of the contributions are explicitly comparative and based on research experience in both areas, and two essays on New Zealand and Canada provide external points of reference to the volume’s focus on Northern Europe (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia) and Australia.

As always in Indigenous Studies, issues of cultural identity and survival are prominent but there is a special emphasis in many of the chapters on issues of socio-economic development and political representation, and a substantial introduction by the editors sketches out a historical-theoretical framework for understanding Indigenous struggles in First World countries that is critical of some currently fashionable approaches.

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-84519-351-5
Hardback Price: £67.50 / $99.95
Release Date: November 2010
Page Extent / Format: 256 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No


Series Editor's Preface

Introduction (Günter Minnerup and Pia Solberg)

1 The Development of Sámi Rights in Norway from 1980 to 2007 (Carsten Smith)
2 The Norwegian Sámi Parliament and Sámi political empowerment (Eva Josefsen)
3 Self-determination, rights and recognition: Indigenous representative bodies in Northern Europe and Australia (Jane Robbins)
4 Principles and practice in Finnish national policies towards the Sámi people (Jukka Nyyssönen)
5 Russia's Sámi: the search for autonomy in the Kola Peninsula (Paul Fryer)
6 Internal Colonialism in Australia (Christine Jennett)
7 Wiradjuri: Revival and Survival (Yalmambirra)
8 Poverty alleviation in remote Indigenous Australia: The hybrid economy as an alternative to mainstreaming (Jon Altman and Katherine May)
9 Recognition, Rights and Resources: Sámi Lands and Indigenous Australian Lands. Some Comparative Perspectives (Margaret Anne Stephenson)
10 Arctic to Outback: Indigenous rights, conservation and tourism (Michael Adams)
11 Making places and polities: Indigenous uses of cultural heritage legislation in Australia and Norway (Gro Ween)
12 Learning the political power play of survival! Sámi villagers fighting for the right to local settlement (Marit Myrvoll)
13 Ethnic discrimination and bullying in Norway (Ketil Lenert Hansen)
14 The Woggan-ma-gule Morning Ceremony. An Indigenous Performance on Australia Day (Angel Bright)
15 Commemorating the Treaty of Waitangi (Patrick McAllister)

The Contributors


The volume by Günter Minnerup and Pia Solberg serves as a stark reminder that First Nations peoples are found on all continents. They contrast the respective histories and past and present vicissitudes of the Sámi – spread across Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia – with those of Indigenous Australians. If in Scandanavia the Sámi suffer relative disadvantage vis-à-vis non-Sámi areas, the contrasts between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians are ‘shocking’. There is, moreover, a yawning disparity in living standards between the Sámi and Indigenous Australians. The authors offer a ‘historical and structural explanation of the very different processes of colonization involved’ and question how a model of internal colonialism might become transformed into one of internal self-determination. This latest volume in the series underscores that any process of internal decolonization must be about more than survival: rather, it has to do with stripping the relations between the colonizer and colonized of their structural asymmetries and inequalities.
From the Preface by First Nations Series Editor, David Cahill, University of New South Wales

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