Issue 13
Tuesday, 02 August 2016
Charles Darwin University
Emeritus Professor Alan Powell, author of “Blood and Sand”
Emeritus Professor Alan Powell, author of “Blood and Sand”

Professor tells Alyawarra story in new book

By Patrick Nelson

Acclaimed history Professor Alan Powell tells a story of suppression, endurance and vindication in a new book about a remote Indigenous group from Central Australia.

The Charles Darwin University Emeritus Professor said “Blood and Sand” was an account of the Alyawarra people and the cattlemen who for more than a century encroached on their freedom and their land in the Sandover River region northeast of Alice Springs.

“It’s a story of conflict and massacre, intimidation, suppression and assimilation that left just a remnant of an Aboriginal society,” Professor Powell said.

“It also explains how their remoteness, endurance and determination enabled their society to remain coherent into the era of Aboriginal Rights, and describes their ability to continue elements of their traditional society in a modern world.”

Professor Powell said the book was born from a project on two separate Native Title history reports for the Central Land Council; one on Lake Nash Station and one on nearby Ooratippra.

“It did not take me long to see that the project encompassed the contact history of a tribal Aboriginal people and the rapid pastoral expansion into their lands.”

Professor Powell said plans were under way to launch the book at Charles Darwin University’s Alice Springs campus in September.