Tribal Warrior Association

Stephanie Lindsay Thompson

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    Small groups of Aboriginal people living on Darug, Tharawal and Gundungurra country around Sydney, many with connections to other areas of Australia, have been participating in a study of Indigenous identity and Aboriginality, as expressed through the work of contemporary Aboriginal visual and performance artists, researchers, writers, historians, curators, sports people, elders and other members of Indigenous communities. Participants in the study have been discussing how they give expression to their Indigenous identity through their work and in their daily lives, and how what they do affects them as Indigenous people. The participants, whose stories contribute to a narrative of present-day Indigenous identity making, include members of the Tribal Warrior Association, a non-profit maritime training company based in Redfern, Sydney, and operated by Aboriginal elders. The training program aims to help young Aboriginal men and women gain accredited qualifications and work experience, which will enable them to make choices in their own lives, rising above the negativity they had previously experienced to ‘a new vision’ of themselves. A tourism arm of the association links the training to Aboriginal cultural cruises on Sydney Harbour, which are designed to showcase Aboriginal seamanship and to counter public misconceptions about Aboriginality by gaining public recognition of the continuing Aboriginal presence in Sydney. A landmark event on 9 June 2003 was the re-entry into Sydney Harbour of the Tribal Warrior after a 21-month voyage around Australia, visiting and conveying ‘letters of goodwill’ to 120 Aboriginal coastal communities. The circumnavigation symbolised Aboriginal self-affirmation at many levels: as a form of initiation for the trainees, a reconnection with traditional ways of interacting through the renewal of links with Aboriginal communities around the Australian coastline, and as a flagship for nation building and reconciliation Australia-wide.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationExploring urban identities and histories
    EditorsChristine Hansen and Kathleen Butler
    Place of PublicationCanberra Australia
    PublisherAustralian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS)
    ISBN (Print)9781922102188
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


    Dive into the research topics of 'Tribal Warrior Association'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this