(Re)asserting indigenous rights and jurisdictions within a politics of place

Transformative nature of native title negotiations in South Australia

Parry Agius, Tom Jenkin, Sandy Jarvis, Richie Howitt*, Rhiân Williams

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)


Australia's dominant politics of place has largely failed to give meaningful recognition to Indigenous peoples. The Native Title Act 1993 required governments, industry and others to (re)consider the basis and extent of their authority, unsettling the non-Indigenous systems' assumed dominance. While Indigenous hopes about Native title have diminished as a result of subsequent judicial, legislative and administrative responses, Native title negotiations have been pivotal in redefining politics of place and Indigenous-settler relationships in Australia at several scales. Focusing on South Australia's Statewide Indigenous Land Use Agreement Negotiation Strategy, this paper considers such a redefinition. The paper identifies four strategies as critical to success in transformative spatial politics: getting process right; recognising and supporting Indigenous jurisdictions; engaging and transforming non-Indigenous scales; and shifting Native title process away from legalities, towards people and relationships. Since 1999, these strategies have transformed the politics of place and built more equitable inter-cultural relationships and networks based on mutual recognition and respect between Indigenous and non-Indigenous rights and interests in land and waters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-202
Number of pages9
JournalGeographical Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2007


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