veronica_strangProfessor Veronica Strang (U. Auckland) Negotiating Under Siege: defending Aboriginality in Far North Queensland (1999)

The Aboriginal community of Kowanyama, in Cape York, is involved in a continual process of renegotiating its relationships with a range of other groups, all of whom promote non-indigenous economic practices, conceptual frameworks, beliefs and values. This research focused on the dynamics of these negotiations and the effects of Kowanyama’s post-colonial engagements with the European population. It considered local strategies of resistance and efforts to maintain Aboriginal lifeways.  Building on comprehensive ethnographic research, the project focused particularly on a collaborative process of cultural mapping with Kunjen people in their traditional ‘country’.  The material collected has been recorded in various media (reports, maps, videos, audio-tapes), and subsequently converted into new electronic forms. It is used extensively: by Kowanyama’s land and resource management office; in legal efforts to reclaim land; and in the school curriculum. The project also formalised methodologies for cultural mapping, enabling Aboriginal Rangers to continue with this work independently.



2010. ‘The Summoning of Dragons: ancestral serpents and indigenous water rights in Australia and New Zealand’, ‘In Focus’ commentary, in Anthropology News, Special Issue, Anthropology of Water, February 2010.

2009. ‘Water and Indigenous Religion: Aboriginal Australia’ in The Idea of Water, (ed) T. Tvedt and T. Oestigaard, London: I.B Tauris, pp 343-377.

2008. ‘The Social Construction of Water’, in B. David and J. Thomas (eds) Handbook of Landscape Archaeology, World Archaeological Congress (WAC) Research Handbook Series, Walnut Creek CA: Left Coast Press. pp 123-130.

2006. ‘Aqua Culture: the flow of cultural meanings in water’, in Water: histories, cultures, ecologies, eds. M. Leybourne and A. Gaynor, Nedlands: University of Western Australia Press. pp 68-80.

2005. ‘Knowing Me, Knowing You: Aboriginal and Euro-Australian concepts of nature as self and other’, in Worldviews 9.1. pp25-56. 

2005. ‘Taking the Waters: cosmology, gender and material culture in the appropriation of water resources’ in A. Coles and T. Wallace (eds) Water, Gender and Development, Oxford, New York: Berg. pp 21-38.

2005. ‘Meaningful Differences: dis-integrated management in the Mitchell River catchment’, in Sustainable Communities, Sustainable Environments, ed. M. Minnegal. Melbourne: SAGES. pp 60-69.

2005. ‘Water Works: agency and creativity in the Mitchell River Catchment’ in special edition of The Australian Journal of Anthropology, ‘Australian Anthropologies of the Environment’, eds. J.Mulcock. C. Pocock and Y. Toussaint. Special Issue 17, Vol 16:3. pp 366-381.

2004. The Meaning of Water. Oxford, New York: Berg.

2004. [2001] ‘Poisoning the Rainbow: cosmology and pollution in Cape York’ in Mining and Indigenous Lifeworlds in Australia and Papua New Guinea, (eds) A. Rumsey and J. Weiner (eds) Wantage: Sean Kingston Publishing. pp 208-225.

2004. ‘Raising the Dead: reflecting on Native Title process’ in Crossing Boundaries: cultural, legal, historical and practice issues in Native Title, (ed) S. Toussaint, Melbourne: Melbourne University Press. pp 9-23.

2004. ‘Close Encounters of the Third World Kind: indigenous knowledge and relations to land’, in Development and Local Knowledge: new approaches to issues in natural resources management, conservation and agriculture, ASA 2000, Volume 2. ‘Studies in Environmental Anthropology Series’, (eds) A. Bicker. J. Pottier and P. Sillitoe, London: Routledge. pp 93-117.

2003. ‘An Appropriate Question? The Propriety of Anthropological Analysis in the Australian Political Arena’, in The Ethics of Anthropology: debates and dilemmas, (ed) P. Caplan, New York: Routledge. pp 172-194.

2003. ‘Moon Shadows: Aboriginal and European heroes in an Australian landscape’, in Landscape, Memory and History, (eds) P. Stewart and A. Strathern, London: Pluto Press. pp 108-135.

2003. Hunter Gatherers and the Politics of Representation: an introduction, CD-rom, Conference Proceedings. Edinburgh: 9th International Conference on Hunting and Gathering Societies.

2002. ‘Life Down Under: water and identity in an Aboriginal cultural landscape’, Goldsmiths College Anthropology Research Papers. No. 7. London: Goldsmiths College.

2001. Country Bla We: Kunjen Country on the Cape York Peninsula. North Queensland: Kowanyama Community Council.