'This year, 2014, marks AIATSIS’ fiftieth anniversary. The Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies was established in June 1964, and its functions included the sponsoring and fostering of research, as well as the publication of results. The Institute was renamed the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies in March 1990.' (Introduction)
Established in 2007 by Aboriginal writers and scholars, BlackWords is a digital humanities online literature resource devoted to the creative writing and oral storytelling of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. In 2013, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) began a major new project in BlackWords: 'An academically rigorous vehicle for the researching and teaching of Aboriginal literature and orature, the value of BlackWords lies in the great cultural and political importance of the literature emergent since the 1960s, and in the central role storytelling has for millennia played in traditionally oral Aboriginal cultures...'
'The Colony of South Australia was established at a key moment in the history of British interactions with Indigenous peoples from around its empire: the House of Commons was conducting a Select Committee on Aborigines (1835– 37); the anti-slavery campaign had recently won a major victory with the Slavery Abolition Act 1833; and the prevailing wisdom in the Colonial Office was progressive and humanitarian. This mood was reflected in South Australia’s founding documents — in the Letters Patent, which defined the nature and extent of the new colony, and in the Proclamation, which was read by Governor John Hindmarsh on 28 December 1836. These documents asserted the moral right of the British to claim sovereignty over the new colony, but enshrined a commitment to provide legal protection to Aboriginal people as British subjects. The great challenge for the colonial government in realising this vision is one of the key themes of Robert Foster and Amanda Nettelbeck’s fine book, Out of the silence: the history and memory of South Australia’s frontier wars.' (Introduction)
'There are Kooris who say that outsiders cannot get our sense of humour. Of course, this is not true of everyone. Most people are able to learn the cultural and historical context that makes something funny. Clarrie Cameron’s Elephants in the bush and other Yamatji yarns shows how extensively Aborigines use comedy in everyday life. Learning this is crucial to gaining an in-depth understanding of our communities. This book deserves a wide audience because it tells us all something about how we see ourselves. These are not narrow stories about disadvantaged or disengaged victims. Yes, Cameron deals with the standard issues of colonisation. However, he does it from a point of view that does not filter out the sense of fun that is integral to the ways that Aborigines live as an altered colonised minority. Cameron’s yarns are funny, in places gentle, but they confront these important issues as effectively as any raging or pitiful plea to understand what is happening in Aboriginal communities.' (Introduction)
'‘Nan, will you read to me before I go to sleep?’ And I wonder what the choice will be. When I have read before at bedtime to my granddaughter, she has handed me a book from her collection. It may have been read to her previously by her mother or it may be one she has read to herself but is still a ‘good read’. Most of these stories are so different to those I read 74 years ago as an 11 year old — novels by LM Montgomery and Louisa M Alcott, Girls’ Own Annual Stories etc.' (Introduction)
'Our stories are our survival is fascinating, enlightening and extremely well written. I thought I was culturally sensitive, relatively aware and extremely interested in Indigenous ways of knowing. This book showed me how naive I am. I was left convinced that I am the product of a white version of a black story.' (Introduction)
'The story of the movement of Aboriginal peoples into what is now Australia some 70,000 years ago and their survival over tens of thousands of years is, as Scott Cane says in this book, truly epic. The story of these achievements is not new, but the way it is told in First footprints is. Scott Cane’s new book demonstrates, through a survey of archaeological evidence, the extraordinary diversity, adaptability and innovative skills of Australia’s Indigenous peoples as they moved into and settled throughout this continent. Their superb skills enabled these people to adapt their technologies, cultural expressions, traditions and lifestyles over time in the context of immense climatic and environmental changes. I discussed some aspects of these innovative skills of Aboriginal people in my 2007 book Writing heritage: the depiction of Indigenous heritage in European–Australian writings. Innovations in material culture included modifying stone and wooden tools in form, size and function, introducing new designs or entirely new objects, or even ceasing use of some items if circumstances no longer required them. Then, of course, there was the incorporation of introduced European materials into their toolkit — wire, steel and glass, for example. There were innovations in subsistence strategies, foods and living conditions. Cane brings out all these and much more in the way of innovative and adaptive strategies that Indigenous people employed over time and place, across the entire range of their cultural and societal systems.' (Introduction)
'Now in its third edition, this book documents the history of Aboriginal participation in the Australian horse-racing industry. Detailing the achievements of Aboriginal jockeys from the nineteenth century to the present day, the book highlights a part of our national sporting past that remains largely forgotten in the collective memory of the Australian public. Ignored in other published histories of the sport, the significant contributions made by Aboriginal people to the Australian racing industry are documented in this book and make it an important addition to contemporary understandings of Australian sport and the experiences of the Aboriginal participants.' (Introduction)