Over the long history of interventions in Aboriginal life since the beginning of white settlement, sovereignty has been asserted through a jurisdiction over Aboriginal crime. As Ford (2010) argues, and as we have explored in this book, the adjudication of Aboriginal crime in colonized states continues to be the central site for the performance of sovereignty and endures as a complex and challenging site for governance in many post-colonial states. Indigenous self-government over ceremony, membership and even land has been accommodated to some extent in many postcolonial societies (Dorsett and McVeigh, 2002; Boast, 2004; Motha, 2005; McNeil, 2009). However, in those places where Indigenous custom endorses violence as a response to perceived wrongdoing, deep questions about criminal jurisdiction over violence and therefore about sovereignty and even citizenship arise (Chanock, 1985; 1991; Comaroff and Comaroff, 2004a; Finnane, 2010). We ended the last chapter of this book with a discussion of the 2007 Intervention in Australia’s Northern Territory and its associated prohibition of Indigenous custom as a relevant consideration in bail and sentencing hearings. We argued that the very need for such a statement of prohibition emphasised the reality of the persistence of custom and the continuing problem of governance over Indigenous inter se violence.
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