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Aboriginal Entitlement and Conservative Theory

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Chapter Summary

Aboriginal land rights are becoming an increasingly contentious issue world wide. This chapter argues against an oversimplified solution of the issue by reliance on the notion of custom and customary rights. It examines that basing aboriginal land claims solely on customary historical entitlement results in too close an alignment with a conservative ideology which has been used to support unrestrained capitalism. The chapter shows that customary 'rights' actually fall short of the modern liberal concept of ownership. It describes Henry Reynolds and his arguments supporting aboriginal land tenure in Australia. The chapter concludes that indigenous claims to land can be better supported by appeal to Will Kymlicka?s arguments for a cultural context of choice, rather than arguments like those of James Tully and Reynolds which theoretically parallel the conservative Locke- Nozick tradition.

Keywords: aboriginal entitlement; aboriginal land tenure; conservative theory; customary rights; Henry Reynolds; James Tully; Locke- Nozick tradition; unrestrained capitalism; Will Kymlicka



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