'Indigenous writers’ works have been subjugated in a context of power and domination by many historical publishing frameworks. However, through the act of writing many Indigenous writers assert their sovereign power and make clear interventions designed to challenge the status quo. This thesis argues for the further shifting of power from the majority non-Indigenous Australian literary sector to Indigenous writers and their communities through the development of an expansive model for reading Australian Indigenous literature.
'Using a theoretical framework of Indigenous ways of being, knowing and doing this thesis proposes a reading method based on Indigenous paradigms, constituted by Indigenous ontologies, epistemologies and axiologies. The proposed reading method is then operationalised in the reading of five texts written by Australian Indigenous women and non-binary writers: We Are Going by Oodgeroo Noonuccal (1964), Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence by Doris Pilkington (1996), Carpentaria by Alexis Wright (2006), Heat and Light by Ellen van Neerven (2014), and The Yield by Tara June Winch (2019). New understandings and knowledges are derived from the works, derived from reading with responsibility and accountability to family, kin and community, reading for songlines and relations in the text, and reading with Indigenous notions of time and with the understanding that Indigenous literature is knowledge.
'The results of these readings are compared with the history of critical reception across four areas of the Australian literary sector, inclusive of the Australian media, published scholarly work, and the Australian literary and Indigenous literary industries. Differences and similarities confirm that reading from within Indigenous research paradigms results in a reorientation of Australian Indigenous literature across the literary sector. From this process, an Indigenous-centred reading approach is documented and an Indigenous-centred model for reading Australian Indigenous literature is further synthesised.
'The thesis builds on the work of Indigenous scholars such as Anita Heiss, Sandra Phillips, Jeanine Leane and Alexis Wright and makes a critical intervention within the Australian literary sector and especially the academy. The developed model places power back into the hands of Indigenous writers and readers, storytellers and storyreceivers and provides expansive ways of reading and a productive tension through which new knowledge can be produced for the benefit of Indigenous writers and their communities.'
Source: QUT ePrints.