Encounters with Aboriginal Peoples in Australia as a Basis for Anthropological Knowledge and Insights
This paper is based on my experiences as a PhD and Post Doctoral student in Australia from 1997-2007, during which time I researched Latin American immigrants and refugees who came to Australia during the 1980s. It was presumed that since I was studying in Australia, my research would focus on the Aboriginal peoples; an assumption based on the popular conception of anthropology as the study of "different" and mainly indigenous cultures. This paper explores the relationship between the government’s policies towards Aboriginal peoples, the anthropological knowledge gathered about them throughout the years, and the current condition of these indigenous Australians.
I will provide a brief review of the anthropological approach and the research conducted. I assert that while anthropological research often criticizes Australian state interference with Aboriginal peoples, it also helps to define them as a social category, distinct from other social groups in Australia.