Traditional economy of the Aborigines of the Richmond River, N.S.W.

Mitchell, Annette (1978). Traditional economy of the Aborigines of the Richmond River, N.S.W. Honours Thesis, School of Social Science, The University of Queensland.

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Author Mitchell, Annette
Thesis Title Traditional economy of the Aborigines of the Richmond River, N.S.W.
School, Centre or Institute School of Social Science
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 1978
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor John Von Sturmer
Total pages 245
Language eng
Subjects L
379902 Aboriginal Studies
Formatted abstract

This thesis is a study of the pre-European contact economy of the Aboriginal people who lived in the Richmond River region of north-eastern New South Wales. These people belonged to the Bandjalang language group1 which embraces clans from a much wider area. Their traditional life style was drastically changed a century ago, and the modern Richmond River Aboriginal people have made readjustments and adapted to a way of life where a European society is a major component of the environment.

My primary motivations for attempting this study were twofold. Firstly, I wished to study the traditional Abo riginal economy of the Richmond River region as an isolable unit within the wider Australian Aboriginal economy, and to do so by setting the study as much as possible in the environment as it was before European contact. Then I wanted to consider some of the interrelationships between the environmental system and the cultural system.

Secondly, I regard this project as a step towards filling a practical need in schools. As a primary school teacher, I am concerned that too frequently lessons about traditional Australian Aboriginal life go no further than describing quaint weapons and strange customs of tooth avulsion, body painting, and bone pointing. Such an approach must only inculcate rather than prevent racism. Children come to see Aborigines as curious museum specimens, interesting but passe, and not as real people who handle some of the matters of existence and interaction differently from the ways in which Europeans handle them. The average primary school teacher does not have ti me to research every topic - and 11The Aborigines11 is just another topic - in sensitivity and depth. Many simply pass on what was taught to them a generation earlier, padded ……………………………………………………

Keyword Aboriginal people
Richmond River
cultural system

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