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An Australian Indigenous Diaspora: Warlpiri Matriarchs and the Refashioning of Tradition

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An Australian Indigenous Diaspora

Warlpiri Matriarchs and the Refashioning of Tradition

Paul Burke

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248 pages, 11 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-388-0 25% OFF! $120.00/£85.00 $90.00/£63.75 Hb Published (July 2018)

eISBN 978-1-78533-389-7 eBook

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“This is a remarkable empirical study of the Warlpiri diaspora. It concerns a fascinating and as yet untold story of those ‘exceptional’ Indigenous people from remote communities who successfully make lives in towns and cities… [It] is a delight to read and tremendously engaging.” · Emma Kowal, Deakin University

“This book charts novel territory, and presents path-breaking and significant new research. The insights the author provides into the lives of Warlpiri matriarchs in the diaspora are a timely, welcome, and much needed addition to the study of Australian Indigenous people.” · Yasmine Musharbash, University of Sydney


Some indigenous people, while remaining attached to their traditional homelands, leave them to make a new life for themselves in white towns and cities, thus constituting an “indigenous diaspora”. This innovative book is the first ethnographic account of one such indigenous diaspora, the Warlpiri, whose traditional hunter-gatherer life has been transformed through their dispossession and involvement with ranchers, missionaries, and successive government projects of recognition. By following several Warlpiri matriarchs into their new locations, far from their home settlements, this book explores how they sustained their independent lives, and examines their changing relationship with the traditional culture they represent.

Paul Burke is currently a Visiting Fellow at the School of Archaeology and Anthropology, Australian National University.  In 2009, he was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship by the Australian Research Council to conduct the research for this book. His previous work on anthropologists in native title claims, Law’s Anthropology, was published by ANU Press in 2011.

Subject: General Anthropology Refugee & Migration Studies
Area: Asia-Pacific


List of Illustrations


Chapter 1. Origins of the Warlpiri Diaspora
Chapter 2. ‘Getting Away’: Reasons and Pathways
Chapter 3. Making Alice Springs a Warlpiri Place
Chapter 4. Warlpiri Women of Adelaide
Chapter 5. Ambivalent Homecomings and the Politics of Home and Away



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