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Law Land Use

Recognizing Aboriginal Title

The Mabo Case and Indigenous Resistance to English-Settler Colonialism

by (author) Peter Russell

Publisher
University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Feb 2006
Category
Land Use, Native American Studies
  • Paperback / softback

    ISBN
    9780802094438
    Publish Date
    Feb 2006
    List Price
    $56.00
  • eBook

    ISBN
    9781442659254
    Publish Date
    Dec 2005
    List Price
    $46.95

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Description

A judicial revolution occurred in 1992 when Australia's highest court discarded a doctrine that had stood for two hundred years, that the country was a terra nullius – a land of no one – when the white man arrived. The proceedings were known as the Mabo Case, named for Eddie Koiki Mabo, the Torres Strait Islander who fought the notion that the Australian Aboriginal people did not have a system of land ownership before European colonization. The case had international repercussions, especially on the four countries in which English-settlers are the dominant population: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States.

In Recognizing Aboriginal Title, Peter H. Russell offers a comprehensive study of the Mabo case, its background, and its consequences, contextualizing it within the international struggle of Indigenous peoples to overcome their colonized status. Russell weaves together an historical narrative of Mabo's life with an account of the legal and ideological premises of European imperialism and their eventual challenge by the global forces of decolonization. He traces the development of Australian law and policy in relation to Aborigines, and provides a detailed examination of the decade of litigation that led to the Mabo case.

Mabo died at the age of fifty-six just five months before the case was settled. Although he had been exiled from his land over a dispute when he was a teenager, he was buried there as a hero. Recognizing Aboriginal Title is a work of enormous importance by a legal and constitutional scholar of international renown, written with a passion worthy of its subject – a man who fought hard for his people and won.

About the author

Peter H. Russell is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto. He has written extensively on issues related to the Canadian Constitution and Canadian politics in general.

Peter Russell's profile page

Awards

  • Winner, Harold Adams Innis Prize
  • Short-listed, C. Herman Pritchett Book Award - The American Political Science Association Law & Courts Section

Other titles by Peter Russell