Emeriti Faculty

July 2010 Trip to Australia

Prof. Hilary Martin, O.P. will be returning to Australia this July to continue his work among the Aboriginal people of that country to a community where he has gone so many times before. Although a small minority in numbers, Aboriginals have captured the imagination of Australians as well as many other peoples around the globe, especially indigenous people like American Indians in this country. This time, Prof. Martin will be asking, "how do you as Aboriginal people describe what we like to call, human rights?"

Aboriginal Painting - Sea at Upper Tjindi

Aboriginals are, of course, very much aware of rights. To suppose that rights for them is just a vague or abstract concept would be to make mistake. They do not confuse the right to do something with the brute power to do something. They defend their right to the land where they have lived and their obligation to live out the Dreamings, that have shaped and formed 40,000-50,000 years of their existence, even when both were taken from them for long periods of time. Intially, Aboriginals found the culture and life of the white man incomprehensible, but they had no doubt that White man must also have some sort of a culture- some things one could do, somethings one could not do to remain a person and not be a nobody. An astute Elder made the remark once that, "White man got no dreaming, he go 'nother way." Personal rights and obligations are very much a part of their culture but are not always similar to our own. I look forward to touching on some of these ideas this fall when I will be teaching Faith in Human Rights, Sustaining the Sacred in Society with Prof. Marianne Farina.