Aboriginal and non-aboriginal Australia : the dilemma of apologies, forgiveness, and reconciliation

Mellor, David, Bretherton, Di and Firth, Lucy 2007, Aboriginal and non-aboriginal Australia : the dilemma of apologies, forgiveness, and reconciliation, Peace and conflict : journal of peace psychology, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 11-36.

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Title Aboriginal and non-aboriginal Australia : the dilemma of apologies, forgiveness, and reconciliation
Author(s) Mellor, David
Bretherton, Di
Firth, Lucy
Journal name Peace and conflict : journal of peace psychology
Volume number 13
Issue number 1
Start page 11
End page 36
Publisher Routledge
Place of publication London, England
Publication date 2007
ISSN 1078-1919
Summary This article presents a qualitative study of the indigenous Australian perspective on reconciliation with nonindigenous Australia, with a focus on the role of an apology for the oppression and violence perpetrated by nonindigenous Australians, and forgiveness on the part of indigenous Australians. A brief historical analysis of the relationship between Aborigines and waves of settlers is presented to demonstrate the extent of the wrong that was perpetrated against Aborigines and the need for social as well as practical reconciliation in the current context. It is argued that negotiated forgiveness is a concept that is pertinent to the discussion of reconciliation, because it requires a dialogue between the parties and ultimately for the wrongdoer to accept accountability and responsibility for offending actions, thereby opening the door for forgiveness and, ultimately, possible reconciliation. It is suggested that a first step in the required reconciliation dialogue is an apology, but the issue of who should give and receive an apology is a complex one. The issue of who should forgive and who should be forgiven is shown to be similarly complex. Qualitative analysis of interview data from 10 participants indicated that at this point in time, forgiveness might not be salient to the indigenous population, whose primary focus is more on the matter of an apology. This suggests that negotiated forgiveness and reconciliation will remain elusive goals until the matter of an apology is resolved.
Language eng
Field of Research 170113 Social and Community Psychology
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2007, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30007271

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Psychology
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