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In fact, genetic research into human origins is pushing the date of Indigenous occupation of Australia back further and further.Could genetic ancestry testing ever be used by Aboriginal organisations, governments or courts to prove or disprove Aboriginality?As the first episode closed we watched our intrepid travellers walk out of Africa, just like their ancestors some 50 000-100 000 years ago.From there, we are told, the three will part ways, each on their individual genetic journey.Emma Kowal is Deputy Director of the National Centre for Indigenous Genomics.She receives funding from the Australian Research Council, the National Health and Medical Research Council and the Lowitja Institute.
In fact, because all humans with recent ancestry outside Africa descend from a relatively small number of pioneers who left the continent, non-Africans have much less genetic diversity than Africans.Indigenous ancestry is part of Indigenous identity, but other aspects – far beyond the reach of genetics – are just as crucial to Indigenous people, including cultural knowledge, community acceptance and connection to country.The role of genetics in identity will now be a hot topic of debate, with a diversity of views among Indigenous people.Palawa elder Rodney Dillon, for example, argues that genetics could potentially resolve long running and damaging disputes about Aboriginality within his own Tasmanian community.In working through the issue, we should keep in mind that Australia has so far avoided the divisive politics of inclusion and exclusion that mar so many Indigenous groups in the United States (and more recently, in Canada), and we shouldn’t let anything change that. Indigenous people have known this for a long time, at least since the 1990s.
The Central Australian Aboriginal Congress called the project “legalised theft” of Indigenous genetic material.