Petitioning for Land is the first book to examine the extent of First Peoples political participation through the use of petitions. Interpreting petitions as a continuous form of political articulation, Karen O'Brien considers petitioning for recognition of prior land ownership as a means by which to locate First Peoples petitioning for change within the broader narrative of historical and contemporary notions of justice.
The book follows the story of First Peoples' activism and shows how they actively reform discourse to disseminate a self-determined reality through the act of petitioning. It discloses how, through the petition, First Peoples reject colonialism, even whilst working within its confines. In a reconfiguration of discourse, they actively convey a political or moral meaning to re-emerge in a self-determined world. Taking a socio-legal and historical approach to petitioning, the book questions the state domination of First Peoples, and charts their political action against such control in the quest for self-determination.
By uniquely focusing on the act of petitioning, which places First Peoples aspirants centre-stage, O'Brien presents fresh and innovative perspectives concerning their political enterprise. From early modern colonial occupation to contemporary society, the hundreds of petitions that called for change are uncovered in Petitioning for Land, shedding new light on the social and political dynamics that drove the petitions.