Mawul Rom Project: Openness, obligation and reconciliation
SourceAustralian Aboriginal Studies, 8, 2, (2008), pp. 3-15
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ RSCR CAOS
Australian Aboriginal Studies
SubjectAnthropology and Development Studies
Aboriginal Australian initiatives to restore balanced relationships with White Australians have recently become part of reconciliation efforts. This paper provides a contextualised report on one such initiative, the Mawul Rom cross-cultural mediation project. Viewing Mawul Rom as a diplomatic venture in the lineage of adjustment and earlier Rom rituals raises questions about receptiveness, individual responsibility and the role of Indigenous ceremony in reconciliation efforts. Yolngu ceremonial leaders successfully draw participants into relationship and personally commit them to the tasks of cross-cultural advocacy and reconciliation. But Mawul Rom must also negotiate a paradox because emphasis oil the cultural difference of ceremony risks increasing the very social distance that the ritual attempts to confront. Managing this tension will be a key challenge if Mawul Rom is to become an effective diplomatic mechanism for cross-cultural conflict resolution and reconciliation.
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