By Ravi De Costa

This crucial ebook recovers the lengthy culture of indigenous transnationalism – touch with exterior humans, associations, principles – all through Australia’s heritage from prior to white payment to the current.

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Extra resources for A Higher Authority: Indigenous Transnationalism and Australia

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Customs duties were collected from 1882, but nationalist incentives to not recognise this longstanding trade preoccupied both Australian governments and Dutch administrators of what was to become Indonesia. 83 Macknight suggests that the positive light in which Yolngu see their relations with the Macassans was because ‘the fundamental bases of society were not affected’. Macassans and Yolngu were not in direct competition for resources, and the visitors collected an item that was not part of the indigenous economy.

Then, after a short pause, the head man of the Alice Springs group told us they were very glad to see us again … and that we were welcome to their country. 29 It was possible, moreover, that indigenous peoples adapted their protocols in ways that borrowed from Europeans. 30 Indigenous protocols made Aborigines indispensable members of explorers’ parties, often without the realisation of the expedition leaders. As Tim Flannery noted in his anthology of explorers’ journals: Aborigines were the real, albeit unacknowledged, explorers of much of Australia.

Macassan designs adorn these grave markers; flags attached to the top of the poles evoke the flags atop Macassan masts that fluttered as they sailed away. 73 The Yolngu adopted Macassan material culture, including buffalo horn, tobacco and alcohol, and the Macassans’ dug-out canoe technology spread around the coast at the rate of 80–100 kilometres per generation. The Yolngu carved wooden representations of trepang, took Macassan place and personal names, and even made large representations of Macassan camps, which they sculpted into the environment with stones.

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