Debates in contemporary Indigenous affairs rarely question the settler-state framework and its accompanying institutions and processes. This silence persists despite Indigenous efforts to engage the settler-colonial order through repeated calls for treaties, for constitutional change, for self-determination and for better representation on the national political stage. These Indigenous efforts to enter into dialogue with mainstream Australia have thus far received little or no reciprocal movement from the settler state and its associated institutions.
To advance Indigenous affairs governance and develop a dialogue for improved Settler-Indigenous relations in the 21st century requires unsettling the silences around the settler-state and its institutions and processes. Instead, we need dialogue and exchange between Indigenous and Settler orders. Only by embracing the challenges of governance in an open an unapologetic way will we be able to address the anxieties associated with Indigenous governance and contribute to healing the persistent sore of the wider Indigenous-Settler relations that continue to trouble the Australian community.
To address these challenges, Unsettling the Setter State documents and analyses contemporary Indigenous efforts to engage with the settler state and its institutions. Chapters by Indigenous authors and settler interpreters and counterparts highlight Aboriginal creativity, vibrancy, and resistance while providing a crucial resource and pathways for rethinking governance and decolonising Australia in the 21st century.