14 Law Context: A Socio-Legal J. 107 (1996)
Law and Indigenous Peoples: The Impact of Colonialism on Indigenous Cultures

handle is hein.journals/lwincntx14 and id is 119 raw text is: 




Law and Indigenous Peoples: the impact of
      colonialism on indigenous cultures



                         Irene Watson


In any discussionl of Aboriginal culture it is important to note that the
ceremony or the 'corroboree' was fundamental and central to the lives
and general well-being of Nungas.2 To discuss culture and the history of
this country without proper consideration of the 'ceremony' perpetuates
an alienation from the mother earth; the spiritual centre of ourselves as
Aboriginal Peoples.
  I once listened to an elder speaking about the 'law'and how important it
was to respect the 'law' and its protocols. He spoke of the time when
Captain Cook first come to this country we now call Australia, and of how
Cook had come through the wrong way or process. That is, the ceremony
is important in establishing how we begin, because it becomes fundamental
to the outcome. And if the powers behind Cook had begun with this same
wisdom, the story we are left to tell would perhaps be different.
  The ceremony begins by remembering the mother, mother earth, she is
not merely an idea but reality; from which all things grow, she nurtures
us all. In honouring the mother we come closer to appreciating the
Aboriginal laws and cultures of this land.
  Aboriginal laws live under the weight of the imposed colonial legal
system. And from the time Cook landed the Aboriginal laws of the land
were dishonoured. The ceremonies were ripped from the peoples
through the invasion and the impact of genocide.
  There has never been a real understanding by non-indigenous peoples of
the Aboriginal laws and their intricate and holistic relationship with all
aspects of the environment and humanity. The law, land and peoples are
one integrated whole. When the ceremonies, more commonly known as
corroborees, began to stop, a state of amnesia descended. Aboriginal
peoples began to bury the memory of ceremonies and important obligations
to the land-the mother. The love of the land, caring and sharing, these laws
began to fade into the oblivion of genocide and the impact of colonialim.

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