Hearing Indigenous Voices

The 27th of May to the 3rd of June is National Reconciliation Week in Australia. Reconciliation, for anthropology, includes reckoning with the discipline’s colonial past, and confronting the ongoing problems within anthropology today. Anthropology and anthropologists have been involved in violence and dispossession against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. And it is still yet to be a welcoming discipline for Indigenous scholars.

The Familiar Strange put out a call for contributions from Indigenous anthropologists, but didn’t get any back. We’re not surprised. TFS, which currently includes no Indigenous people among its core team, has been a flawed vessel for Indigenous voices in the academy. For this, we are sorry. As we continue, we resolve to redouble our efforts in listening to the voices of Indigenous people, reflecting on the work that remains, and changing whatever we can.

This week we’re centreing Indigenous academics and other writers on the platforms where they wish to appear. Below is a by-no-means exhaustive list of some thinkers and activists from Australia and beyond whose recent work caught our attention.

Indigenous academic voices:

Dr. Chelsea Bond (Munanjahli and South Sea Islander woman) :

“It is through the writings of Indigenous scholars, from Langton’s ‘Urbanising Aborigines: The Social Scientist’s Great Deception’ (1981), Dodson’s Wentworth Lecture, Rigney’s articulation of ‘Indigenist Research Methodology and its Principles’, Nakata’s ‘Disciplining the Savages’, Huggins’ ‘SisterGirl’ and Moreton-Robinson’s ‘Talkin Up to the White Woman’, that I could see a possibility for activism in the academy and the requirement to reconfigure the imagined ideological spaces that imprison us, literally and figuratively.

It was in their work that I could see a kind of labour that was real and necessary for us as Blackfullas to be undertaking.  It was via their work that I came to see the University not as a tower, but as a factory – much like the one I lived across the road from. Instead of producing steel, it produces knowledge, knowledge that is racialized and violent and enabling to the colonial project.”

Dr. Zoe Todd (Métis/otipemisiw woman):

“I have tried to figure out how I reconcile the work anthropologists claim to do to dismantle racism while I see it faithfully and viciously reproduced in every aspect of the discipline. I am trying to figure out how I counteract the surveillance and disciplining of our discipline while also making sure I stay alive, while I make sure the pressure doesn’t kill me. How do I, to borrow a term from Simpson’s (2007, 2014) work, refuse anthro’s underlying white supremacist tendencies?”

Dick Powis and Savannah Martin (The Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians woman):

“One of our many objectives is to amplify the voices, experiences, and work of scholars from marginalized communities. The creation of a shared space for marginalized scholars may be a response to the marginalization itself, but the scholars are not. They stand on their own without having to be contrasted against more privileged voices, without having to be anti-something. They operate from positions of lived experiences that are often shut out from the anthro-blog-o-sphere.”

Podcasting Indigenous voices

“Awaye!” is a podcast from Radio National, that “brings you diverse and vibrant Aboriginal arts and culture from across Australia and the best from Indigenous radio broadcasters around the world”: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/awaye/

Rick Harp ( Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation man) of the podcast Media Indigena has put together an index of Indigenous podcasts in Canada and the US: https://www.mediaindigena.com/an-index-of-indigenous-podcasts/

“Curtain: the podcast,” hosted by Amy McQuire (Darumbal and South Sea Islander woman) and Martin Hodgson, looks at the case of Kevin “Curtain” Henry, a man convicted of murder in Rockhampton, Queensland: https://curtainthepodcast.wordpress.com/

Indigenous Social Media

https://indigenousx.com.au/ – A 100% Indigenous owned and run independent online media platform

twitter.com/NayukaGorrie  (Kurnai/Gunai, Gunditjmara, Wiradjuri and Yorta Yorta woman) – Writer and activist, working on multiple platforms including IndigenousX, the Guardian, and Junkee

Celeste Liddle – (Arrernte woman) National Tertiary Education Union organiser, author of http://blackfeministranter.blogspot.com/ and tweeting at https://twitter.com/Utopiana

Evelyn Araluen (Koori/Goori woman) – PhD Candidate at the University of Sydney working in indigenous literature and activism – @evelynaraluen 

[Image: Invasion Day march Melbourne 2018 by Takver: https://www.flickr.com/photos/takver/39683170934/in/album-72157690681527932/  under Creative Commons license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/]

2 thoughts on “Hearing Indigenous Voices

  1. This is a cool list, thanks for compiling it and for referencing us at Footnotes!
    One critique, however: In order to avoid homogenizing Indigenous peoples as one monolithic group, it’s best if you can identify scholars by their specific Nation, Tribe, Iwi, etc.
    For example, I am a member of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians. It does take a little bit more effort, but actively naming our affiliations is an easy way to help combat the erasure of Indigenous peoples.

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