'We Who Are Not Here': Law, Whiteness, Indigenous Peoples and the Promise of Genetic Identification

Cambridge Journals
Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal of Law in Context, 2007, 3 (1), pp. 35 - 58
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In contemporary law, genetic technologies of the body have provided a new layer of complexity to legal determinations of racial identity. Indigenous peoples in particular are often forced to present themselves before law as invisible peoples requesting embodiment, possessing no set identity and requiring a legal determination of their status. In return for their participation in genetic research indigenous peoples have been promised, amongst other things, a reliable identification that would make them visible as indigenous before the law. This article examines genetic and non-genetic approaches to identifying indigenous peoples through a case study of Australian law and argues that while genetic technologies may have little to offer indigenous populations they do hold out the possibility of making visible to whites and white institutions their own obscured racial identity.
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