This is the first collection of poems by Oodgeroo Noonuccal (originally published as Kath Walker).
'I should confess up front: I did not deliver the paper I intended at the 2016 Association for the Study of Australian Literature conference convened in July in Canberra. At least not that exact paper. Months earlier, when I received the invitation to present a keynote, I had imagined the possibilities for engaging ASAL members as a particular kind of informed audience—one able to recognise, for instance, that in the Australian context the English-language term ‘Dreaming’ evokes Aboriginal understandings not only of the distant past of creation but also of the considerable force of creator ancestors continuing into the present and future. I thus immediately thought to address the intersections of Indigenous activism and publishing, two modes of contemporary Indigenous creation, both within and outside Australia, and to focus that address specifically around the significance of 1964. 1 That year has been much on my mind, and my original idea was to juxtapose the historic 1964 publication of the first book of poems written by an Indigenous author in Australia, We Are Going by Oodgeroo Noonuccal, then known as Kath Walker, with the 1964 publication of the first book of poems written by a Maori author in Aotearoa New Zealand, No Ordinary Sun by Hone Tuwhare, and the 1964 publication of the first book of poems written by a contemporary Native American author in the United States, Raising the Moon Vines: Original Haiku in English by Gerald Vizenor (although Vizenor had privately published an earlier volume of haiku in 1962). 2 The serendipity of synchronous first publications of books of poems by diverse Indigenous writers situated within the confines and possibilities of different English-speaking settler nation-states would help me demonstrate a version of literary contextualisation, analysis, and appreciation I have been calling trans-Indigenous. 3 The term is meant to be expansive; here it is deployed in the sense of a critical practice of purposeful juxtaposition, of reading across, beyond, and through specifically located Indigenous literatures, histories, and cultures.' (Introduction)