Week ones study was focused on the Aboriginal Acknowledgement of Country and the Indigenous terms of reference. These are two very important topics as they focus on the interaction between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australians, fostering a relationship a relationship of trust, respect and understanding.
The English settlers took away Aboriginal peoples sacred land, which caused them to lose meaning to their life and the connection they had with it.
Richard Wagamese’s semi-autobiographical novel Keeper’n Me paints the portrait of a young man’s experience—one shared by many Indigenous peoples across Canada—revealing a new perspective on Aboriginal life. First Nations have often been romanticized and the subject of Western fantasies rather than Indigenous truth concerning Aboriginal ways rooted in “respect, honor, kindness, sharing and much, much love” (Wagamese, 1993 quote). Keeper’n Me tells the story of Garnet Raven, an Ojibway, who is taken from his family as a child by the Children’s Aid Society, and placed in a number of (white) foster families, where his Indigenous identity is stripped away. He serves time for drug charges, during which he receives a letter from his brother, inviting him back to the White Dog Reserve to rekindle ties with his people and learn about Ojibway culture, traditions, spirituality, and philosophy with the help of his community and his teacher, Keeper, an elder and recovering alcoholic who was instructed in his earlier years by Raven’s grandfather. In viewing the novel through the theoretical frameworks of the “Middle Ground”, “Orientalism”, and “Agency”, Keeper’n Me explores Canadian-Indigenous relations in a moving, yet humorous way, as well as the meaning of “being” a First Nation in modern society,
Black Diggers is a play written by Tom Wright about the indigenous Australians who fought in World War II and their previously forgotten stories. The Ideas and themes involved in the text circle around two main points. The first is the inferiority of non-indigenous Australians in the play which can be seen by all the non-indigenous characters who aren’t called by their names. The second is the injustice shown towards non-indigenous soldiers due to discrimination and violence throughout the play. These arguments are evident in the old soldier’s monologue which was set in 1956. This monologue is a psychoanalytic perspective of how this particular Aboriginal felt at different points throughout his life therefore it is a record of his personal truth. This story is similar to other Aboriginal soldiers’ stories like the ghost’s and the bloke’s in the Glebe Town Hall monologues. The old soldier’s monologue
Inspired by the marshland around her house, Susan Cooper’s Ghost Hawk brings about a multitude of questions and criticisms through her representations of indigenous lives. The novel’s two epigraphs suggest an air of equality or a neutral perspective of sorts with regards to the existence of all people and their land. This is especially apparent in Cooper’s use of Woody Guthrie’s liberal lyrics, this land is your land, this land is my land…this land was made for you and me. It appears that Cooper is setting the tone for readers to think that the land (which is historically accounted as being taken from the indigenous people), was in fact intended for all. Before reading the reviews and ensuing debates, I wondered if Susan Cooper wrote the story
The poem, ‘Be Good, Little Migrants’ by Uyen Loewald, thoroughly explores the concept of identity throughout the poem. Uyen Loewald is an Australian migrant of Vietnamese background who has been subjected to racial oppression and degradation when first migrating to Australia. As a result, she created the poem, ‘Be Good, Little Migrants’ to express her emotions of frustration and anger at the plight of new Australian migrants. The poem conveys the notion that migrants of a non-British background, more specifically Vietnamese and Asian, had to discard their own cultural identity. Furthermore being forced to change and adapt to an “Australian” identity. This process is known as assimilation. The continuous repetition of the imperative, “Be good, little migrants” in each stanza,
While reading Layli Long Soldier’s Whereas, I was pleasantly surprised with how I liked the literature. As I am not a fan of poetry I wasn't expecting to like this particular piece, but I found that many, if not most, of the poems were fascinatingly executed. Another theme I found that was incorporated into many pieces was land and territory. One of the first poems that caught my attention was “Three”. In this poem Long Soldier structures her poem so that it creates a box shape which ironically is what the poem is about. She writes, “This is how you see me the space in which to place me” (pg. 8). This poem creates, literal, imagery of land and territory. We can also see how Long Soldier feels as though people place her in a box whether it be physical, reservations, or metaphorical, Indigenous stereotypes.
However, there is still hope. While the injustices of the Stolen generation, massacres and centuries of mistreatment against Indigenous Australians can never be erased, we can create future in which these atrocities never occur again. These atrocities emerge from ignorance and fear, so working to understand Indigenous culture must surely be the only path to removing the racism that plagues Australia. We have so must to learn from the rich cultural history of Indigenous Australians, particularly in their spiritual relationship with the land they have lived on for thousands of years. If we embrace this incredible knowledge, not only will we eliminate the barriers preventing equality in our society, we will also be stronger as a nation in both environmental and social relations. Ultimately, we have the potential to become an example to the world of the way a nation’s people can overcome their past mistakes and pave a future of cultural sharing for the benefit of all
Gwendolyn Brooks employs the use of capitalization and pronouns in her poem “A Bronzeville Mother Loiters in Mississippi. Meanwhile a Mississippi Mother Burns Bacon” as a way to demonstrate the tensions between white femininity and black masculinity in the south during the era directly preceding the Civil Rights Movement. During this time, the white man was afforded the ability to dominate over the word of white women and black men. Throughout this poem, Brooks portrays the complex dimensions that race and gender played in the murder of Emmett Till.
In Thomas King’s short story, “Borders”, he writes about the Canada-America border. Within the short story, the main character refuses to identify her citizenship even though she is from Blackfoot. Even though the story is being told through the young boy’s point of view, the main issue focuses on another character, the mother. When approached by guards on the border, the mother insists that she is a Blackfoot, which causes issues because her son is a minor and must stay on the Canadian side of the border.
The Ngunnawal People have been living within the borders and surrounding mountains of the Australian Capital Territory for over 25,000 years. The way the Indigenous people used the land to live off was extremely efficient and sustainable. They had a bounty of knowledge about the land surrounding them, and over generations, devised resourced management skills to ensure maintenance of the animals and plants, and most importantly, the land in which provided these things. Aboriginal culture existed long before Captain Cook arrived in Australia in 1770. He claimed the land to be "Terra-Nullius", meaning that the land did not belong to any person. This claim obviously seemed ludicrous and crazy to the Indigenous people whom already lived on the land.
Mohawks filed a complaint but were declined due to lack of evidence for “specific legal requirements” (Conflict over)
Resisting society’s dominant standards can be done in many ways. For instance, Jeannette Armstrong’s poem, “Indian Woman” demonstrates what Kim Anderson explains as an act of resistance. Armstrong presents this by recognizing the discrimination of First Nations women by challenging it as well as accepting her Native identity instead of conforming to Western beliefs. By doing so, the poem allows her to reclaim her voice and speak the truth for her and other First Nations women.
Aboriginal women prior to colonization were respected, prominent members, and a vital part of their community. Precolonization Aboriginal women did not stay home as house wives; they were an important participant within harvest and other duties that supported their families and communities. Children were reared by the “mother clan” it took the whole family to raise a child from husbands, brothers, and extended family leaving little room for family violence (Martin-Hill, 2012, p. 110). Canada’s Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples referred to the voices of Aboriginal women pre-colonization:
Oodgeroo Noonuccal’s non-traditional view of Australia in ‘An Appeal’ shows how stereotypes of Australia are not always correct. The poem shows how camaraderie and mateship are not always expressed in Australian lifestyle. It is evident in the poem that not all Australians help each other to get through tough times and Australia is divided into different groups of people and is not equal. ‘An appeal’ shows how the nation stands up for themselves and fight for what is right against the power of the ‘not really’ authoritative people of Australia.