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    Launch of the International Review of the Red Cross: Emerging Voices

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    Event description

    Join Australian Red Cross and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for the Australian launch of the "Emerging Voices" edition of the International Review of the Red Cross. We will be joined by aΒ panel of First Nations scholars andΒ Elders to discuss Indigenous warfare, Indigenous knowledge and the lessons they can offer for International Humanitarian Law (IHL). ThroughΒ its focus on Indigenous Australian laws of war, thisΒ event seeks to showcase the rich but often overlooked cultural traditions in war and the continued importance they play in demonstrating the relevance and universality of placing limits on how wars are conducted.


    The panel will consist of:

    DrΒ Ray Kerkhove
    Ray is a professionalΒ ethnohistorian, authorΒ and Adjunct Professor with the University of Southern Queensland (Toowoomba).Β He specializes in the early history and material culture of Aboriginal South-east Queensland, including Aboriginal resistance wars and Brisbane’s Aboriginal history.Β His extensive work has been published in journals including theΒ Aboriginal History Journal, the journal of Queensland Archaeological Research and Antiquity.

    Samuel White
    Samuel is aΒ military legal practitioner,Β Adjunct Researcher at the University of New England andΒ Postdoctoral Research Fellow andΒ RUMLAE Associate Researcher at the University of Adelaide. Sam'sΒ research interests includeΒ international and domestic military law. He has beenΒ published in the Journal of Military and Strategic Studies, theΒ Australian Army Journal andΒ the Adelaide Law Review, among others.Β 

    Ray and Samuel co-authored the articleΒ Indigenous Australian laws of war: Makarrata, milwerangel and junkarti, which was chosen for publication in the Emerging Voices edition of the International Review of the Red Cross.

    Boe Spearim
    Boe isΒ a Gamilaraay and Kooma man, radio host andΒ creatorΒ of the Frontier War Stories podcast, aΒ podcast dedicated to truth-telling about a side of Australian history that has been left out of the history books. Across 30 episodes of the podcast,Β Boe has interviewed bothΒ First Nations and non-Indigenous people about research, books and oral histories to document the first 140 years of conflict and resistance after European invasion.

    Callum Clayton-Dixon
    Callum is anΒ AmbΔ“yaΕ‹ (southern clan/dialect of the β€˜Anaiwan’ tribal/language group), a founding member of the Anaiwan Language Revival Program, a postgraduate research student at the University of New England in Armidale NSW, and a contributing author at IndigenousX. In the course of his in-depth work with community, Callum has accumulated knowledge regarding individual conflict sites and weaponry.Β Β 

    The discussion will be moderated by Lee Prouse,Β the Co-Chair of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership Team atΒ AustralianΒ Red Cross.Β 


    The International Review of the Red Cross helps both shape and create high-level debates on humanitarian law, policy and action. For far too long, these debates have been dominated by the traditional and established elite. In an attempt to increase the diversity of perspectives represented, the Review launched a global call for papers from β€œemerging voices,” asking for innovative and creative arguments that might shape debates for years to come. An avalanche of remarkable submissions led to this volume of twenty exceptional articles. Their selection for publication stands as a recognition of their quality – and that we can collectively look forward to hearing and reading more from these authors in the years to come.


    Studies in Australian history have lamentably neglected the military traditions of First Australians prior to European contact. Thankfully, the situation is beginning to change, in no small part due to the growing literature surrounding the Frontier Wars of Australia. Yet, very little has ever been written on the laws, customs and norms that regulated Indigenous Australian collective armed conflicts. Ray and Samuel's paperΒ uses early accounts to reconstruct ten laws of war evidently recognized across much of pre-settlement Australia. The study is a preliminary one, aiming to stimulate further research and debate in this neglected field.

    Read the paper and the rest of theΒ Emerging VoicesΒ editionΒ here.

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