Published: Saturday 30 April 2005

"We don't own the land, the land owns us," is the declaration on the mast head of the site under review. But don't go by such lofty statements. Run by the Alice Springs-based, Aboriginal Art and Culture Centre, the site takes us on a guided tour of the history and culture of indigenous people of Australia. Its aim: "The achievement of a situation where our community members will be able to develop an economic base and raise their social status to a point where they can enjoy the same fundamental, civil, social and economic rights as other Australians". So far so good

But how does the Aboriginal Arts and Culture Centre propose to do all this? By promoting aboriginal culture as a rich tourist attraction. If you did not know what the didgreedoo is, here is the place to go. You can even learn to play this indigenous Australian instrument. And if the introduction leaves you sufficiently impressed there are cultural tours where one can see aboriginal artists working on their traditional crafts. Seems that the colonial project of making museum objects of the indigenous people has been vindicated.

The exoticisation casts a gloss over the site's few useful aspects. There are links to other sites related to indigenous people in Australia. There is a very good reading list on aboriginal life. But don't hope for anything remotely political. Even the section called news is a rehash of items culled from other sites. Worse it has very little on the aboriginals. Seems all is hunky dory for Australia's indigenous people!

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