Across Continents

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Reservations

His father had come from the Forest of Dean. Did I know the place? Yes, I explained. Quite well. His Dad had married a local indigenous girl from a nearby reservation. I was curious to learn a little more, for, on the surface at least, there appeared to be some striking similarities between the issues faced by aboriginal peoples of Australia and North America, and, to a lesser extent, New Zealand.

He offered me a beer. I politely declined, explaining that, as I’d earlier seen signs of a bear in nearby bushes, I’d rather not wish to dull my senses. Leadership, he explained, of the various First Nations peoples was hereditary rather than on plain merit. Some engaged in negotiations over land rights with the Government, he added with a disenchanted look. And nobody quite understood what they exactly they were seeking, or even if they knew themselves.

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