The colours of sovereignty and Ron Hurley’s gold

It is futile, you would think, to continue dismissing the sovereignty of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Historical evidence exists, documented by explorers and ‘discoverers’ writing about their encounters and experiences with Indigenous people. Such accounts are now being reinterpreted by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from our perspectives. For example, the Dharawal people’s words on first contact with the British at Botany Bay / Kamay have been mistranslated as ‘go away’, when in fact they were likely warning each other that the white sailors were ghosts, literally ‘the dead’. An excerpt from one of James Cook’s journal entries made on 22 April 1770 from the HMS Endeavour’s first voyage (1768–1771) records that

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