Always was. Always will be Aboriginal land. Invasion Day 2018 protest. Check my Twitter for discussion of the speakers earlier at The Block, Redfern. We’re marching to the Yabun Festival

Video: The Other Sociologist.

Anti-Blackness amongst non-Indigenous people of colour

Let’s talk about anti-Blackness amongst non-Indigenous people of colour (POC) in Australia. In July 2017, a young family was trying to get a taxi after they marched for NAIDOC Week, a week of events recognising the cultures, languages and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, in Naarm (Melbourne). Five cab drivers refused to take them, making up the same excuse that they had just dropped someone off, or that they were waiting for another passenger, only to drive off alone. It is illegal to refuse a fare. The two drivers here are non-Indigenous POC.

In late 2016, actress Ningali Lawford-Wolf was refused a taxi four times in one night; in 2015, elder and actor Jack Charles was refused a cab twice in one week; in 2013, a group of Aboriginal actors were repeatedly refused a taxi, including Natasha Wanganeen and Frances Djulibing. These are famous cases; the video below may involve a more ordinary family, but nevertheless form part of an ongoing pattern of discrimination, that people of colour are contributing towards. 

Non-Indigenous POC must confront racism towards Indigenous people in our own communities and society at large. Non-Indigenous Australians are living on stolen land and so we owe a great debt to traditional custodians of Country. 

The Uluru Statement report was delivered in 2017 and it partly focuses on truth-telling about the history of this nation. We must play our role in national healing, rather than reinforcing colonial hierarchies of racism.

Watch the original video showing the interaction with a taxi diver.

[Image: screen grab of video above, showing a taxi and driver being filmed with a phone.]

Australia is the only Commonwealth nation without a treaty with First Nations people. In national consultations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, published as the Uluru Statement, a pathway to (and beyond) treaty was outlined through truth telling and a makarrata. This is the Yolngu word for various overlapping processes of peace negotiations, as well as an agreement to solving conflict and restoring justice. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have attempted to negotiate treaties since colonialism began, and a makarrata since the 1970s, to address formal recognition that the land belongs to Indigenous people, along with plans to address other cultural and socioeconomic issues. Both sides of Government addressed national media and promised to establish a makarrata at the Garma Festival in August 2017, but have since rescinded their support.

Photo: The Other Sociologist.

Indigenous Sociology for Social Impact

The history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social justice activism to destabilise and overcome colonial practices in Australia began with the British invasion in 1788 and has continued to the present-day. These acts of social and political organisation have strong sociological resonance that should centrally inform sociological inquiry in Australia. Yet Indigenous knowledges are peripheral to the discipline of sociology. This post is the first in a series exploring ways to decolonise sociology, through the leadership of Associate Professor Kathleen Butler, sociologist and Aboriginal woman belonging to the Bundjalung and Worimi peoples of coastal New South Wales.

To redress the problematic racial dynamics of sociological theory and practice, Associate Professor Butler convened the first Indigenous Sociology for Social Impact Workshop at the University of Newcastle, Ourimbah campus, on Darkinjung land. Held on 27-28 October 2016, Professor Butler invited Indigenous and non-Indigenous sociologists from different parts of Australia to consider gaps and opportunities in addressing the ongoing impact of colonialism in our theories, methods and practice.

Today’s post places the workshop in historic context and summarises the discussion. I also include reflections by Associate Professor Butler about the outcomes from the workshop. I end with a set of questions that emerged from the workshop that we should now face as a discipline in order to centre Indigenous knowledges and methods in sociology.

Continue reading Indigenous Sociology for Social Impact

At Carriageworks for NAISDA (National Aboriginal and Islander Skills Development Association) performance of “Restoration,” the cultural dances of Moa Island. Here, the dancers are warming up onstage as the audience enters. They’re laughing and talking to one another.

Video: The Other Sociologist.

“Colonial Sugar,” Tracey Moffatt and Jasmine Togo-Brisby, exhibition at the City Gallery Wellington. From 1863 to 1904, the Queensland government in Australia enslaved at least 62,000 people from the Pacific to fuel production in its prosperous sugarcane plantations.

The Other Sociologist.

Mervyn Bishop, a Murray man, was the first Aboriginal person to work at a major metro daily newspaper, joining the Sydney Morning Herald in 1962. In 1971 he was named Australian Press Photographer of the Year. He would go on to cover major events, including the anti-war protests of the 1960s, the Bicentennial in 1988, and Aboriginal community life in remote regions of Australia. He was also a photography lecturer at the University of Sydney, a film photographer, and he held his first retrospective solo show in the 1990s. His work was featured at the Art Galley of New South Wales as part of NAIDOC Week, a commemoration of the resilience, culture and achievements of Aborginal and Torres Strait Islander people. 

The Other Sociologist.

The National Centre of Indigenous Excellence for Inner City NAIDOC. This was a community event celebrating culture, language and identity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. They had dancers, music, and poetry by little children!

Photo: The Other Sociologist.

Indigenous Sociology for Social Impact

Associate Professor Kathleen Butler, sociologist and Aboriginal woman belonging to the Bundjalung and Worimi peoples of coastal New South Wales, led the “Indigenous Sociology for Social Impact” workshop. The two-day event explored how sociology can draw on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership and knowledge to decolonise theory, methods and practice. She invited academic and applied sociologists of Indigenous and non-Indigenous backgrounds to discuss the issues, ethics and evidence-base to better better draw on Indigenous perspectives. Here she talks about the aims and lessons of the workshop, as well as the Indigenous methodology she used (“talking circle”) to elicit free-flowing ideas.

Learn more: Other Sociologist.


[Video: Prof Butler sits at a table speaking; she is filmed front-on, from the waist up. She smiles often when she speaks. At the beginning of the video, there is a notation that reads: In October 2016, Professor Butler led a workshop exploring
how sociology can draw on Indigenous leadership & knowledge to decolonise theory, methods & practice. Later, when she discusses the “talking circle,” another annotation reads: Talking circle (or “yarning circle”) is an Indigeous methodology that brings participants together to discuss issues in a safe, open-ended dialogue without set questions. The end credit reads Other Sociolgist.]