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Acknowledging Traditional Owners: A Theological Inquiry

Elvey, Anne (2014) Acknowledging Traditional Owners: A Theological Inquiry. In: Colonial Contexts and Postcolonial Engagements: Storyweaving in the Asia-Pacific. Palgrave Macmillan, New York, pp. 231-248. ISBN 978-1-137-47546-6

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On 8 February 2011, the local member of the Legislative Assembly for Frankston, Geoff Shaw, gave his maiden speech in the Victorian Parliament among a number of others as part of an “Address in Reply” to the Governor’s Speech. In his speech, Shaw begins by thanking his family then continues: In taking my place in the Legislative Assembly it is appropriate for me to acknowledge the original owner of the land on which we stand -- God, the Creator, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of the Bible. (Hansard, “Address in Reply”, 8 Feb 2011). It seemed to me that this statement, buried in Hansard, was using biblical religion to efface the traditional or customary owners of the land who, for the electorate of Frankston, are the Bunurong / Boonwurrung people. Later in the year, the Victorian State Liberal government moved to downplay (some would say, discourage) the use of an acknowledgment of country at public events. This essay asks how we might understand the relationship between Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, their God and land: firstly, the lands that were their home country and secondly, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lands where the Bible arrived with the invaders. Then, the essay open up the question of the ways in which the practice of acknowledging country at public events in Australia can be understood theologically, especially in relation to the multiple laws in operation, in this complex context of colonial presence and a biblical narrative saturated with relationship to other lands.

Item Type: Book Chapters
Repository Version: Published Version
Keywords: Acknowledgement of Country, biblical religion, ancestral narratives, land, postcolonial theology
Fields of Research: 20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2002 Cultural Studies > 200201 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Studies
22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2204 Religion and Religious Studies > 220401 Christian Studies (incl. Biblical Studies and Church History)
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970122 Expanding Knowledge in Philosophy and Religious Studies
Type of Activity: Applied Research
Subjects: B - Biblical Studies, general
D - Ethics / Moral Theology
College/Association with University of Divinity: UFT-TCTS: United Faculty of Theology - Trinity College Theological School
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Depositing User: Dr Anne F. Elvey
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2015 00:10
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2015 00:10
URI: http://repository.divinity.edu.au/id/eprint/1776

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