Aboriginal Self-Determination

Booktopia First Nations promotion


Land rights, welfare and culture have locked Aboriginal people out of the good life. Land has become a burden, welfare has become disabling, bad behaviour is mistaken for culture.

There is a way out. Aboriginal people must abide by the same rules as every other Australian--seek out opportunities, study hard, and free themselves from a culture of bad behaviour.

This is in contrast to the white man’s dream of Aboriginal self-determination. This grand experiment has failed. Aboriginal people, especially those in remote Australia, need an exit strategy from the dream. The exit strategy outlined in this book destroys the rallying cry for culture.

Instead, it shows that the way to self-determination is through individual dignity.

“The old Law was not about human rights. It was about unconditional loyalty and obedience … We still respect and honour our ancestors and want to keep our culture. But my people are confused.

"If they go the blackfella way they break whitefella law, if they go whitefella way they break blackfella law. Our young men are caught in the middle, that’s why they fill up the jails ... We now need to change the letter of our Law to keep its spirit alive. We need to do this ourselves but with the support of governments and our fellow citizens …

"I don’t agree with everything that Gary Johns says in this book but he is honest and believes in what he says. I am happy to write this foreword and to encourage and praise him for the contribution he is making to the debate we need to have.”

From the foreword by Bess Nungarrayi Price, chairperson of the Northern Territory’s Indigenous Affairs Advisory Council and a member of the Commonwealth Government’s Advisory Group on Violence against Women.

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Cite this page

Korff, J 2019, Aboriginal Self-Determination, <>, retrieved 25 July 2024

Creative Spirits is a starting point for everyone to learn about Aboriginal culture. Please use primary sources for academic work.

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