eCite Digital Repository

The brief reach of history and the limitation of recall in traditional Aboriginal societies and cultures


Sansom, B, The brief reach of history and the limitation of recall in traditional Aboriginal societies and cultures, Oceania, 76, (2) pp. 150-172. ISSN 0029-8077 (2006) [Refereed Article]

Not available

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2006 Oceania Publications, University of Sydney

Official URL:

DOI: doi:10.1002/j.1834-4461.2006.tb03042.x


In native title cases a judge must determine the extent to which the current practices of applicants for native title relate to the practices of their forebears at sovereignty. It is proposed that evidence of the continuity and preservation of tradition from the time of sover-eignty must be derived from records and/or expert opinion. This is so because brief historical recall is instituted in Aboriginal societies and cultures and, therefore, Aboriginal witnesses cannot testify to continuities that belong to what, for them, is time immemorial. Relevant observations are cited from the literature to establish the quiddities of brief recall and the editing of histories of deviation. Aboriginal hunter-gathers are then compared with the peoples of feuding corporations, blood-debt and the heritable grudge in order to answer the question: Why in Aboriginal Australia is there an instituted and rapid onset of temps perdu?

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Anthropology
Research Field:Social and cultural anthropology
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in human society
UTAS Author:Sansom, B (Professor Basil Sansom)
ID Code:44080
Year Published:2006
Web of Science® Times Cited:16
Deposited By:Riawunna
Deposited On:2006-08-01
Last Modified:2012-11-28
Downloads:1 View Download Statistics

Repository Staff Only: item control page