In search of the Wakaya 'clever man' and research on social problems in Barkly Region, N.T. and Qld

Memmott, Paul (2014). In search of the Wakaya 'clever man' and research on social problems in Barkly Region, N.T. and Qld. In: Breaking Barriers in Indigenous Research and Thinking: 50 years on. Program. AIATSIS Indigenous Studies Conference 2014, Canberra, ACT, Australia, (51-51). 26-28 March, 2014.

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Name Description MIMEType Size Downloads
Author Memmott, Paul
Title of paper In search of the Wakaya 'clever man' and research on social problems in Barkly Region, N.T. and Qld
Conference name AIATSIS Indigenous Studies Conference 2014
Conference location Canberra, ACT, Australia
Conference dates 26-28 March, 2014
Proceedings title Breaking Barriers in Indigenous Research and Thinking: 50 years on. Program
Place of Publication Canberra, ACT, Australia
Publisher Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
Publication Year 2014
Sub-type Published abstract
Open Access Status
Start page 51
End page 51
Total pages 1
Language eng
Formatted Abstract/Summary
I shall present a narrative of driving into the remote N.T. in 1980, poorly equipped, as a young anthropologist looking for the lost descendants of the Wakaya tribe in order to mount an Aboriginal land claim on an anonymous desert. Little was written about this mysterious tribe save for an encounter by two earlier anthropologists on horseback along the O.T. Line in 1901, who met an eminent Wakaya ceremonial leader, a ‘clever man’ and teacher of tribal doctors. Starting with their account, I unpack my travels in the ‘Wakaya Desert’ learning of Aboriginal geography, land tenure and religion. I then explain how this anthropological knowledge assists me in my current work on assisting to address Aboriginal social problems in that region (family violence, homelessness, housing, employment, training, organizational capacities, economy). A key is the importance of groundings in traditional Aboriginal culture to address the complex set of social problems that have arisen in Aboriginal communities over the last 50 years. I reflect on the role of those privileged to hold secret/sacred knowledge received from a former generation who have all passed away, and the challenges in translating this knowledge for the benefit and problem contexts of their grandchildren’s generation.
Q-Index Code EX
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

 
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Created: Fri, 09 Jan 2015, 10:13:18 EST by Ms Shelley Templeman on behalf of School of Architecture