Caterpillar Childhoods: Engaging the otherwise worlds of Central Australian Aboriginal Children

Affrica TAYLOR

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This article engages with the otherwise worlds of Arrernte caterpillar children living in the Aboriginal fringe camps around Alice Springs, in Central Australia. It traces the constitutive relationships between these children's kinship identities and belongings to country, the materialities of the desert environment in which they live, the adaptive and inclusive past and present Arrernte ‘Caterpillar Dreaming’ stories, Arrernte interspecies relational ethics, and the impact of colonial dispersals and interventions upon Central Australian Aboriginal people's lives. The author poses the question of what we might learn about children's postcolonial natureculture relations from these caterpillar children's otherwise worlds. Picking up on Elizabeth Povinelli's suggestion that the mutually constituting relationship of geographies (places) and biographies (human lives), or geontologies, function as indigenous survival strategies, the author questions whether or not these adaptive caterpillar geontologies can survive in a world irrevocably changed by colonisation and subject to ongoing neo-colonial assimilatory interventions. To make these tracings and to pose these questions, the author draws upon a combination of personal recollections, traditional Arrernte stories and philosophies, and recountings of colonialist and neo-colonialist historical events
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)366-379
    Number of pages14
    JournalGlobal Studies of Childhood
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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