The historical process of dispossession of Indigenous lands in Western Australia and British Columbia
School of Classics, History and Religion, University of New England
Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences
School of Communications and Arts
Canada and Australia were both colonised as settler societies where settlers from Britain and other European countries appropriated land from the indigenous inhabitants to establish, what Alfred Crosby has termed, neo-Europes.' The resulting dispossession of land is now being contested in both countries as other chapters in this volume attest. While the ultimate outcome of these settler histories are rather similar, that is, indigenous populations have little, or no, control over land, the process of dispossession has been different. In this article I consider the historical processes involved in the appropriation of land in the western regions of Australia and Canada: Western Australia and British Columbia. This comparative approach suggests that while land loss is a common experience of First Nations people in British Columbia and Aboriginal people in Western Australia,' their histories of land dispossession are different - in British Columbia many Firsr Nations continued to have a small land base after colonisation, while Indigenous West Australians have had no legally recognised rights to land until the native title claim process was established in the 1990s.