The Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research at The Australian National University is delighted to host a two-day workshop on Indigenous justice on Monday 4 September and Tuesday 5 September 2017.
See workshop program
The focus of the workshop will be on indigenous policy and directions and initiatives in relation to addressing indigenous justice. The focus of the workshop is timely in the Australian context given the national crisis in Indigenous incarceration 25 years on from the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, the revelations of the ABC's Four Corners report in relation to the treatment of Aboriginal children and young people in Northern Territory Don Dale Juvenile Detention Centre aired on Australian television on Monday 26 July 2016, and the announcement of a Royal Commission into the Child Protection and Youth Detention Systems of the Northern Territory. The year also marks the 10th anniversary of the Northern Territory Intervention (21 June 2017) and the 20th anniversary of the 'Bringing them Home Report' (26 May 2017). It is also 50 years since the Australian 1967 Referendum.
The workshop will be a forum for policy and community justice organisations working in the field of Indigenous justice to instigate fruitful dialogues with academics and practitioners on potential research linkages and collaborations. It will also encourage an open discussion and understanding between academics specialising in Indigenous justice, while at the same time engaging with, and learning from, practitioners and policy-makers. Speakers will include Indigenous justice scholars, senior public servants and community-based and advocacy indigenous justice organisations.
The three keynote speakers are Professor Bruce Duthu, Samson Occom Professor of Native American Studies, Dartmouth College, Professor Tracey McIntosh, Professor of Indigenous Studies and Co-Chair of Māori and Pacific Studies Wānanga o Waipapa at the University of Auckland, and Associate Professor Asmi Woods, ANU College of Law, and a practicing barrister and solicitor in the ACT.
The workshop theme is 'Broken Justice?'. This theme borrows from the title of Bruce Duthu's article 'Broken Justice in Indian Country' which appeared in the New York Times in 2008. It was this critical article that brought attention to anomalies in the American justice system in relation to the authority of Indian tribes to investigate and prosecute all crimes occurring on Indian lands - no matter whether tribal members or non-members are involved. Duthu drew attention to perpetration of violence and rape against Indian women by non-Indian men on tribal lands, referring back to Oliphant v. Suquamish Indian Tribe, which the court extended in 1990 to cases involving tribal prosecution of Indian offenders who are not members of that tribe. While Congress later passed new legislation reaffirming the power of tribes to prosecute non-member Indian offenders, it left the Oliphant ruling intact.
Duthu's article not only 'shed light on the pernicious problem of sexual violence against Native American women' (Duthu 2013: 1), but he also pointed the 'morass of jurisdictional rules in this area exacerbated sexual violence in Indian country' (1). Duthu (2013) notes in his book Shadow Nations: Tribal Sovereignty and the limits of legal pluralism that the article triggered a number of positive and negative responses of which not only invited 'a new round of termination of tribal political status', but also 'embraced 'the ideology of legal centralism'. His account in the article and further discussion of it in Shadow Nations is one familiar account to many of us. It speaks to legal pluralism, the limits of state law, the over-representation of Indigenous people within the justice system, violence against Indigenous women, the state and Indigenous jurisdictional autonomy and authority, and state interventions in Australia, such as the Northern Territory National Emergency Response, the national crisis in not only Indigenous detention but also Indigenous child protection, and the treatment of Aboriginal children and young people in Northern Territory Don Dale Juvenile Detention Centre.
'Broken Justice' provides a theme for the workshop and Shadow Nations: Tribal Sovereignty and the Limits of Legal Pluralism a point of reference for wider discussion beyond this to issues of Indigenous political status, legal centralism, and law as the law of the state and beyond to discussions of legal pluralism and 'new' legal pluralism. This approach turns our attention to the national crisis in Indigenous incarceration 25 years on from the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, the revelations of a last year's episode of ABC's Four Corners in relation to the treatment of Aboriginal children and young people in Northern Territory Don Dale Juvenile Detention Centre, and the announcement of a Royal Commission into the Child Protection and Youth Detention Systems of the Northern Territory. Situating the workshop in terms of the arguments within Shadow Nations also turns our attention to alternatives, to pluralism, and to sovereignty.
- Debbie Kilroy, CEO Sisters Inside
- Scott Avery, Research and Policy Director, First Peoples Disability Network Australia
- Deborah Evans, Director, Tjillari Justice Aboriginal Corporation
- Joe Coyte, CEO, The Glen Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Centre (Ngaimpe Aboriginal Corporation)
- Terry Cook, Aboriginal Client Advisory Officer, NSW Office of State Revenue
- Dr Kyllie Cripps, Deputy Director, Indigenous Law Centre, University of New South Wales
- Professor Harry Blagg, Director of the Centre for Indigenous Peoples and Community Justice, University of Western Australia
- Professor Chris Cuneen, University of New South Wales
- Professor Terri Libesman, Law, University of Technology Sydney
- Dr Amanda Porter, Chancellor's Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education & Research, University of Technology Sydney
- Dr Sarah Holcombe, Senior Research Fellow, University of Queensland and Visiting Fellow CAEPR, ANU
- Simone George, CAEPR, ANU
- Dr Deirdre Howard-Wagner, Fellow CAEPR, ANU