Informit article: Unsettling conceptions of wilderness and nature

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Prior to the currently emerging popular awareness of anthropogenic climate change, there existed little impetus for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians to engage regarding the sustainability of land – no way, that is, that inherently affected, concerned or was crucial to the survival of both peoples equally. There was no issue in which both had similar amounts at stake. This is in spite of the fact that land has always been and continues to be of fundamental concern within the Australian settler-colonial context, as well as the settler-colonial project more broadly. For Indigenous peoples, ways of knowing and being are intrinsically connected with Australian lands. Following European invasion, land (or lack of access to land) was critical to both Indigenous peoples dispossessed from their ancestral country and those settlers who claimed it for themselves. However, while land to at least some extent has always represented a ‘common ground’ for all Australian cultures, the inherent differences between how that land is culturally conceptualized and understood – and the enduring legacies of invasion, dispossession and continuing colonization resulting from those understandings – have kept Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians locked in an unproductive space of cross-cultural silence concerning their shared histories and environment.

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