The Unintended Consequences of Characterizations of Indigenous Identity: Going Back to Court

The cover story on today's (November 12, 2012) The Australian discusses a story first broken by The Canberra Times about whether a person's skin colour should be determining of their status as indigenous.

The story is about a blog entry by Professor Don Aitkin in which he says that an aboriginal leader who led a welcome to country ceremony was significantly fair-skinned, leading him to "scratch [his[ head" over references to his identity. Dr Lucas Lixinski, a Project Director at the AHRC, was interviewed for the story, and quoted as saying that "the author of the blog appears very well meaning, but there is a very naive understanding of what indigeneity is," and that "the unintended consequence of that posture is to be borderline paternalistic and condescending in the sense that he seems to assume that he is in a position to speak for indigenous people and what indigenous peoples' claims and aspirations are or should be."