Aboriginal women, politics and land

Document Type

Book Chapter


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences


School of International, Cultural and Community Studies




Brock, M. (2001). Aboriginal women, politics and land. In: Brock, P. (eds) Words of silences: aboriginal women, politics and land. Allen & Unwin: Victoria, Australia.


In struggles over access to land, Aboriginal women's concerns have often remained unacknowledged. Their words - and silences - have been frequently misheard, misunderstood, misrepresented, misused. The controversy about 'secret women's business' in the Hindmarsh Island Bridge conflict has brought this issue to the attention of the general public. How can Aboriginal women assert their claims while protecting, by remaining silent, their culturally sensitive knowledge? How can they prevent their words and silences being misrepresented? Words and Silences explores the barriers confronting Aboriginal women trying to defend their land rights. The contributors to this volume provide insights into the intricacies of Aboriginal social and cultural knowledge, and introduce the reader to different understandings of how the gendered nature of Aboriginal land ownership adds complexity to the cross-cultural encounter. In lively and engaging prose they document the ongoing struggles of Aboriginal women across Australia, who are fighting to ensure they receive due recognition of their rights in land.