This article provides a close reading of a land dispute between Lutheran missionaries at Cape Bedford mission during the 1920s and 1930s in order to extrapolate understandings of missionary ambivalence, power, and privilege within colonial processes of dispossession. The main contention is that missionaries felt compelled to promote Aboriginal engagement in agricultural labour in order to ensure that they could visibly demonstrate the land’s productivity, and then maintain access to it. It also contributes to understandings about missionary power and privilege within the colonial context and how at times the authority of missionaries was undermined by bureaucracy. It points to the discrepancies between settler and humanitarian discourses around Indigenous land use in Queensland’s north during this period, and the relationships between missions and the state.
To access the full article, please access the Journal of Religious History, volume 41, issue 2.
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