The articles in this issue draw on cross-national comparisons of indigenous crime and justice in three ‘settler societies’, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. These kindred states share a common imperial history but their geo-political, cultural and historical trajectories are sufficiently different to reveal the underlying character of neo-colonial indigenous-state relations. Despite differences in indigenous culture, the timing of contact, the ‘civilizing’ or assimilationist mechanisms employed and constitutional form all states share an over-reliance on penal measures as a means of regulating indigenous-state relations. Yet considerable variations in the penal experience of Aborigines are observed so that differences are often greater amongst them than between Aborigines and non-Aborigines. These anomalies in indigenous criminalization are for Tyler (this issue) not only a product of anomie but reflect variations in economic dependency, cultural resilience, ethnic fluidity and 'identity' arising from the encounter with the post-colonial state
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