The laws of first peoples are connected to our traditional lands. The colonial project dispossesses us of land, but our laws are often still carried with us. These Aboriginal laws become like us, the native peoples, disconnected from country. So how is it possible for first peoples and our laws to survive this disconnection? And what is it we survive as? We are engulfed, inside a state that maintains its claim to sovereignty over Aboriginal lands and lives. This essay will explore the continuing connections to country from a place inside the “sovereign” space of the state, a space that guarantees no power to determine law-full Aboriginal obligations to country. Is it that all we have is a claim to law and homelands, a claim that may or may not be recognized by the colonial state? How can we keep the vision of Aboriginal relationships to country alive in a space where the universal, the global, views this relationship as an antiquated concept?
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Irene Watson; Sovereign Spaces, Caring for Country, and the Homeless Position of Aboriginal Peoples. South Atlantic Quarterly 1 January 2009; 108 (1): 27–51. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-2008-021
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