Representations of Tribal Boundaries of Australian Indigenous Peoples and the Implications for Geographic Information Systems

Representations of Tribal Boundaries of Australian Indigenous Peoples and the Implications for Geographic Information Systems

Andrew Turk (Murdoch University, Australia)
Copyright: © 2007 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-298-5.ch031
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Abstract

This chapter explores the concepts of boundary (“limit of country”) held by indigenous Australians and how they might be represented in computer-based information systems, especially geographic information systems (GIS) and digital cadastre databases. The impact of these representational issues on native title processes and determinations will also be discussed. The analysis provides a partial understanding of the nature of tribal boundaries, especially variations which occur in the physical definition of boundaries and their (intentional and unintentional) indeterminacy. The chapter goes on to draw some conclusions regarding the representation of indigenous boundaries in the property cadastres of Australian States and Territories. If such “official” boundaries are to do justice to indigenous law and culture, they must reasonably reflect the ontology and epistemology of the concepts of boundary held by indigenous Australians. Hence, there is a significant interaction between constraints imposed by particular information technology (IT) practices and indigenous concepts of place.

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