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The Conversation:

Many people, both Aboriginal and white, lost their lives on the Australian frontier, but in most documented massacres it was Aboriginal people who were killed.

Scholars of Australian frontier history have argued the deaths of Aboriginal people should be acknowledged without political prejudice as grave injustices. Others have argued the many reported massacre events in Australia were fabricated.

This debate is now known as the “History Wars”, and are generally views expressed by non-Aboriginal people. Aboriginal people, particularly the descendants of those killed, still bear the pain of these past conflicts.

They know that grandparents, aunts and uncles were absent when they were children, and deep sorrow took their place. The descendants are also the custodians of the oral testimonies recording these events.

We believe our research confronts a significant cultural boundary that - apologies aside - political leaders have failed to address. We cannot undo the past, but we can acknowledge that these events are part of both Aboriginal and white histories – they are real and Aboriginal people still suffer the pain of the past.

Paul Ciano

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