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Dr Cameo Dalley





Faculty of Arts and Education


Alfred Deakin Institute


Melbourne Burwood Campus


Cameo is a sociocultural and economic anthropologist whose work focuses on the politics of belonging, indigeneity, and land. Much of her work examines interculturality and issues at the interface between Aboriginal and settler descendant (non-Aboriginal) identities in Northern Australia. She has long term research relationships in the Wellesley Islands in the Gulf of Carpentaria and the East Kimberley region of Western Australia. She has published on these topics in a range of academic and public-facing outlets including Meanjin (2018), and was co-editor of a special edition of The Australian Journal of Anthropology titled ‘Dichotomous Identities? Indigenous people and non-Indigenous people in Australia’ (2015). Prior to joining Deakin, she was the McArthur Postdoctoral Fellow in Anthropology at the University of Melbourne.

Her current research project is based in the East Kimberley, and has taken place in two phases. The first is based predominately in the town of Wyndham and is focused on Aboriginal and kardiya (non-Aboriginal) forms of belonging in declining pastoral economies. This project has included considerations of contemporary pastoralism and corporate agribusiness, land ownership and access and historical periods of shared labour. This has included, for example, an oral history project with abattoir workers at a local meatworks and contestations between Aboriginal people at a contemporary pastoral station. The second phase of research examines Aboriginal people’s experiences of land justice and recognition. Currently she is exploring economic sovereignty for Ngarinyin Aboriginal people in the wake of a successful native title claim in the Central Kimberley in 2004. Her research is funded through an ARC Discovery Indigenous Project ‘Beyond Recognition: Postcolonial Relationality Across Difference’. The research has applications to current Treaty negotiations in Victoria and to forms of constitutional recognition for Indigenous Australians.

Past research was focused on contemporary indigeneity and Aboriginal people's relational ontologies; the construction of families and relatedness, alcohol and violence, mobile and digital technologies and connections to country. This research involved extensive ethnographic fieldwork in the remote Aboriginal community of Mornington Island in Queensland's Gulf of Carpentaria. Her doctoral thesis was nominated for the Australian Anthropological Society Best PhD Thesis Prize 2012.

Cameo has extensive industry experience and networks in native title and cultural heritage. From 2012 to 2015 she ran the Centre for Native Title Anthropology at the Australian National University, through funding awarded by the Australian Government Attorney-General's Department. Working variously for Aboriginal corporations, the Queensland State Government and developers, she has undertaken consultancy work in south-east Queensland, Central Queensland, Cape York and the Northern Territory.

Read more on Cameo's profile


Australian Anthropological Society

Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies

American Anthropological Association

Indigenous Settler Relations Collaboration

Teaching interests


Indigenous Studies

Knowledge areas

Aboriginal Australia
Northern Australia
Labour and economy
Contemporary pastoralism and food
Land justice and native title
Indigenous settler relations and settler colonialism
Non-Indigenous belonging

Professional activities

Cameo was the Secretary of the Australian Anthropological Society from 2010-2012 and Chairperson of the Australian Network of Student Anthropologists in 2010.


'Aboriginal people and others in the remote town of Wyndham, East Kimberley region of Western Australia', McArthur Fellowship, University of Melbourne, 2015-2018, $300,000

'Moving Home in Northern Australia: Contemporary Aboriginal experiences of media, mobility and surveillance', Dyason Fellowship Scheme, University of Melbourne, 2017, $5,000

(with N. Peterson) Centre for Native Title Anthropology Attorney General’s Department Native Title Anthropologist Grant Scheme, 2013-2016, $677,000

'Out of the Ord: Aboriginal people and employment opportunities in the remote East Kimberley region of Western Australia', College of Arts and Social Sciences, ANU Small Grant Scheme, 2015, $10,000

Ceridwen Greenfield Indigenous Research Scholarship, University of Queensland', 2010, $3,000

'Fishing Through Time in the Wellesley Islands' Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Research Grant 2007/G7292, 2007-2010, $16,000

(with R. Robins, E. Stock, S. Ulm, and D. Rosendahl) Site Stabilisation and Ranger Capacity-Building project, Wellesley Islands Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Indigenous Heritage Program, 2007, $36,000

(with P. Memmott, S. Ulm, I. Lilley, N. Evans, S. van Holst Pellekaan, D. Trigger, N. White and R. Robins and D. Rosendahl) 'Isolation, Insularity and Change in the Wellesley Islands: An Interdisciplinary Study of Aboriginal Cultural Patterns in the Gulf of Carpentaria' ARC Discovery Project DP0663047, 2006-2010, $365,000

(with Ulm, S., S. Nichols) 'Australian Archaeology in Profile: A Survey of Working Archaeologists  Joint Interim Standing Committee on Archaeology Teaching and Learning', 2005, $5,000


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Pastoralism's distributive ruse: Extractivism, financialization, Indigenous labour and a rightful share in Northern Australia

C Dalley

(2022), pp. 1-19, History and Anthropology, London, England, C1

journal article

Relational Decay: White Helpers in Australia's Indigenous Communities

Cameo Dalley

(2021), pp. 128-139, Decay, Durham, N.C., B1

book chapter

Becoming a Settler Descendant: Critical Engagements with Inherited Family Narratives of Indigeneity, Agriculture and Land in a (Post)Colonial Context

C Dalley

(2021), Vol. 18, pp. 355-370, Life Writing, Abingdon, Eng., C1

journal article

What now : everyday endurance and social intensity in an Australian Aboriginal community

C Dalley

(2020), New York, N.Y., A1


The "White Card" is grey: survelliance, endurance and the cashless debit card

C Dalley

(2020), Vol. 55, pp. 51-60, Australian journal of social issues, Chichester, Eng., C1

journal article

Mobility and the education of Indigenous youth away from remote home communities

Cameo Dalley

(2018), pp. 130-145, People and change in indigenous Australia, Honolulu, Haw., B1

book chapter

The returns of recognition: Ngarinyin experiences of native title, encounter and indeterminacy in the Kimberley region of Northern Australia

C Dalley

(2018), Vol. 88, pp. 360-376, Oceania, Chichester, Eng., C1

journal article

Dichotomous identities? Indigenous and non-Indigenous people and the intercultural in Australia

C Dalley, R Martin

(2015), Vol. 26, pp. 1-23, Australian journal of anthropology, London, Eng., C1-1

journal article

Love and the stranger: Intimate relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in a very remote Aboriginal town, northern Australia

C Dalley

(2015), Vol. 26, pp. 38-54, Australian journal of anthropology, London, Eng., C1-1

journal article

Australian archaeology in profile: A survey of working archaeologists

S Ulm, S Nichols, C Dalley

(2013), pp. 31-51, Training and Practice for Modern Day Archaeologists, B1-1

book chapter

A working profile: The changing face of professional archaeology in Australia

S Ulm, G Mate, C Dalley, S Nichols

(2013), Vol. 76, pp. 34-43, Australian Archaeology, C1-1

journal article

Dugong hunting as changing practice: economic engagement and an Aboriginal ranger program on Mornington Island, southern Gulf of Carpentaria

Cameo Dalley

(2012), pp. 261-285, Indigenous participation in Australian economies. II, historical engagements and current enterprises, Canberra, A.C.T., B1-1

book chapter

Domains and the intercultural: understanding Aboriginal and missionary engagement at the Mornington Island Mission, Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia from 1914 to 1942

C Dalley, P Memmott

(2010), Vol. 14, pp. 112-135, International journal of historical archaeology, New York, N.Y., C1-1

journal article

Negotiating indigeneity: culture, identity, and politics

D Trigger, C Dalley

(2010), Vol. 39, pp. 46-65, Reviews in anthropology, Abingdon, Eng., C1-1

journal article

Mapping the shape of contemporary Australian archaeology: Implications for archaeology teaching and learning

S Ulm, S Nichols, C Dalley

(2005), Vol. 61, pp. 11-23, Australian Archaeology, C1-1

journal article

Funded Projects at Deakin

Other Public Sector Funding

Women in Native Title Anthropology

Dr Cameo Dalley

Attorney-General's Department

  • 2022: $37,315
  • 2021: $74,090
  • 2020: $71,910
  • 2019: $35,135


No completed student supervisions to report