'Although Australian indigenous poetry is often overtly polemical and politically committed, any reading which analyzes it as mere propaganda is too narrow to do it justice. By presenting the verse of Alf Taylor collected in Singer Songwriter (1992) and Winds (1994) and discussing it in the context of the wider social and cultural milieu of the author, my essay aims to show the thematic richness of indigenous poetic expression. Indigenous poets have, on the one hand, undertaken the responsibility to strive for social and political equality and foster within their communities the very important concept that indigenous peoples can survive only as a community and a nation (McGuiness). On the other hand, they have produced powerful self-revelatory accounts of their own mental and emotional interior, which urges us to see their careers in a perspective much wider than that of social chroniclers and rebels.' (Publication abstract)
In this essay Heiss discusses Indigenous-authored works that are targeted for upper-primary and young adult readers, that address issues of identity, self esteem, relationships and peer-group pressure that are available for both educators and students. Heiss recommends that these works discussed in this essay, will not only engage young Indigenous students, but also non-Indigenous students and other readers with a sense of sameness in terms of coming of age, facing friendships, and the growing pains that all teenagers face.
'Indigenous Australian cultures were long known to the world mainly from the writing of anthropologists, ethnographers, historians, missionaries, and others. Indigenous Australians themselves have worked across a range of genres to challenge and reconfigure this textual legacy, so that they are now strongly represented through their own life-narratives of identity, history, politics, and culture. Even as Indigenous-authored texts have opened up new horizons of engagement with Aboriginal knowledge and representation, however, the textual politics of some of these narratives - particularly when cross-culturally produced or edited - can remain haunted by colonially grounded assumptions about orality and literacy.
Through an examination of key moments in the theorizing of orality and literacy and key texts in cross-culturally produced Indigenous life-writing, Entangled Subjects explores how some of these works can sustain, rather than trouble, the frontier zone established by modernity in relation to 'talk' and 'text'. Yet contemporary Indigenous vernaculars offer radical new approaches to how we might move beyond the orality-literacy 'frontier', and how modernity and the a-modern are productively entangled in the process. ' (Source: Angus & Robertson website www.angusrobertson.com.au)
'Most members of the Stolen Generations had white fathers or grandfathers. Who were these white men? This book analyses the stories of white fathers, men who were positioned as key players in the plans to assimilate Aboriginal people by 'breeding out the colour'. The plan to 'breed out the colour' ascribed enormous power to white sperm and white paternity; to 'elevate', 'uplift' and disperse Aboriginality in whiteness, to blank out, to aid cultural forgetting. The policy was a cruel failure, not least because it conflated skin colour with culture and assumed that Aboriginal women and their children would acquiesce to produce 'future whites'. It also assumed that white men would comply as ready appendages, administering 'whiteness' through marriage or white sperm. This book attempts to put textual flesh on the bodies of these white fathers, and in doing so, builds on and complicates the view of white fathers in this history, and the histories of whiteness to which they are biopolitically related.' (Publication summary)
'The stories told by Ruby Langford Ginibi in Don't Take Your Love to Town, Sally Morgan My Place, and Mudrooroo in Wild Cat Falling provide the starting point for discussions on some of the key events and issues that have affected Aboriginal people.
Part 1: 'Aboriginal Experience' looks at the practice of removing Aboriginal children from their families, and denial of Aboriginality and equal rights. Part 2: 'Reclaiming Identity' looks at the importance of the family and the land to Aboriginal people and their quest to reclaim their identity.'