Reconciliation, Assimilation, and the Indigenous Peoples of Australia

Reconciliation, Assimilation, and the Indigenous Peoples of Australia Journal Article

International Political Science Review/ Revue internationale de science pol

  • Author(s): Short, Damien
  • Published: 2003
  • Volume: 24

Abstract: Reconciliation as a peacemaking paradigm emerged as an innovative response to some of the mass atrocities and human rights violations that marked the 20th century. It provided an alternative to traditional state diplomacy and realpolitik that focused on restoring and rebuilding relationships. To that end, those creating reconciliation processes have set themselves the difficult task of laying the foundations for forgiveness through the establishment of truth, acknowledgment of harm, and the provision of appropriate forms of justice. In 1991, the Australian government instigated a process of reconciliation between the indigenous peoples and wider society in order to "address progressively" colonial injustice and its legacy (Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation Act 1991: Preamble). This article seeks to demonstrate, however, that restrictive policy framing and a lack of political will have severely hindered the progress of the Australian reconciliation process. An alternative conceptual approach to settler state and indigenous reconciliation is suggested.

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Suggested Citation
Short, Damien, 2003, Reconciliation, Assimilation, and the Indigenous Peoples of Australia, Volume:24, Journal Article, viewed 03 December 2023,

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