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The Humanities Conference 2003

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Presentation Details

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Interaction between Australian Aborigines and Indonesian Makassans: Celebrating Cultural Diversity through Stories

Sonia Tidemann.

An analysis of stories from coastal Northern Territory, South Sulawesi, and across the Indonesian archipelago, showed some similarities amongst the themes of the stories, the agents within the stories, the outcomes or actions and the new forms where they were created within the stories. When each of these was examined in detail, however, there were striking differences. Aboriginal stories showed a far more subtle relationship with the natural environment and subsistence living whereas the other groups shared a greater similarity that revolved more around interpersonal relationships and interactions. It is possible that Aboriginal stories did not influence those of the Makassans because of the complexity of intertwined story, dance and ceremony of the former as well as the strong cultures of both.


Sonia Tidemann  (Australia)
Associate Professor, Natural and Cultural Resource Management
School of Health and Sciences
Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education

From secondary to tertiary teaching at the Australian National University, Canberra and, after a Masters in educational psychology, to a PhD in bird behavioural ecology. Then a research scientist in northern Australia focusing on the endangered Gouldian Finch. From there to Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education in Natural and Cultural Resource Management where my focus is capturing Indigenous knowledge before it is too late and raising the status of traditional ecological knowledge.

  • Makassan
  • Australian Aborigine
  • stories

(30 min Conference Paper, English)