chapter
20 Pages

Introduction: Indigenous Ways of Death in Australia

ByVictoria Burbank, Katie Glaskin, Yasmine Musharbash, Myrna Tonkinson

The focus of this book, on death in Indigenous Australia, arises from the situation Indigenous Australians confront in their life-worlds today. As we believe this volume demonstrates, mourning and related practices have become especially germane for indigenous people in contemporary Australia, and this phenomenon reflects on their experiences as indigenous people in a post-settler society. In Australia, a country that enjoys immense wealth, based primarily on mining, Indigenous Australians suffer the highest mortality rates of any social or cultural group, with life expectancy rates that are 20 years lower than those of the average Australian.1 These significantly greater rates of premature and preventable mortality are to be found whether one is looking at urban, rural or remote indigenous communities. Ill-health and death are ubiquitous in Indigenous Australia.