Storytelling is a central part of Indigenous culture and has been for more than 65,000 years.
It’s how knowledge and history is passed down and influences the way we see the world and how we care for country.
It helps maintain our connection to community. It helps us heal from the traumas of our past.
Wiradjuri and Wailwan woman Teela Reid is a NSW-based lawyer and co-founder of Blackfulla Bookclub.
Ms Reid explains Indigenous storytelling as “honouring our ancestors and celebrating the fact we tell stories in different ways that don’t necessarily comply with Western forms”.
For non-Indigenous Australians, it provides an avenue to learn about the deep-rooted history that is written into our landscape and learn about the language that intertwines with the country we’re on.
It invites conversation and by engaging with Indigenous content, it unlocks the door to our silenced history and unearths our nation’s dark past in order to step forward in the right direction.
It fosters the process of truth-telling.
“Our storytelling is intricately linked with the Black Lives Matter movement because it demonstrates our ways of expression, and it is a movement that tells the truth about our experiences,” Ms Reid says.
With access to a plethora of resources, it’s no longer about raising awareness, but using these resources to create change.
The conversation around justice for Indigenous people has been going for more than two centuries, but it took the death of George Floyd in the United States for Australians to open their hearts and minds.
An ABC-wide initiative to reflect, listen and build on the shared national identity of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.
“Those looking to educate themselves on Australia’s history and the truth of what has happened, [need to] start engaging with stories told by us in our own words,” says Merinda Dutton, a Gumbaynggirr and Barkindji woman who is also a lawyer and co-founder of Blackfulla Bookclub.
“We have been speaking out about violence, injustice and colonialism for a long time.
“We have the solutions. We ask people to be reflective and think critically about their role in deconstructing systems of oppression.”
To showcase just some of the great Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content creators and storytellers in Australia, we’ve pulled together a collection of resources written, produced by and including the perspectives of Indigenous people from across the nation.
So, what can I read?
Alongside donating, volunteering and mentoring, here are some practical resources you should read:
What can I listen to or watch?
Ms Reid says there are many ways to support the Black Lives Matter movement.
“For us, it’s really about making space for and hearing First Nations voices,” she says.
So, switch up your regular podcasts, movies or series, for some of these:
- Listen to the Curtain podcast, hosted by Amy McQuire and Martin Hodgson as they explore the issues of our justice system and beyond.
- Tune into Blacademia with host Amy Thunig, as she sits down with First Nations academics from across industries.
- Hosted by Marlee Silva, Always was, always will be our stories is a new podcast that shares the excellence of Indigenous Australia, introducing new guest each week.
- The Real podcast, hosted by Mayrah Sonter, brings together a collection of Indigenous trailblazers who share their experiences and journey to success.
- For pre-schoolers, Little Yarns hosted by Rudi Bremer is a great co-listening podcast that teaches words from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language groups in a beautiful and engaging way.
- For adults, Word Up is a weekly podcast where you can learn the diverse languages of Indigenous Australia, correct pronunciations and the meaning behind those words.
- Hear the story about the unsolved case of 17-year-old Gomeroi teenager Mark Haines in the Blood on the Tracks podcast, hosted by Allan Clarke.
- Stay up-to-date with the latest in Aboriginal arts and culture from across the country with Daniel Browning on Awaye!
- If you’re looking for the latest in politics and current affairs, including a range of Indigenous perspectives, tune into Speaking Out with Larissa Berendt.
- If you want to learn about the Uluru Statement from the Heart and why a formal truth-telling process is important, listen to Rachel Perkins’s powerful 2019 Boyer Lecture.
- We’ve heard the story of James Cook arriving in Australia, but have you heard it from the perspective of those who were on the shore watching the boat sail in? Watch View from the Shore to learn what first contact was like for Aboriginal communities on the east coast of Australia.
- Watch the Australian Dream, which follows former AFL legend and Brownlow medallist Adam Goodes as he explores race and identity in Australia today.
- Watch the inspiring film In My Blood It Runs, premiering on ABC on July 5 at 9:30pm. It tells the story of 10-year-old Dujuan, an Arrente/Garrwa boy from Alice Springs, and the challenges he faces of growing up Indigenous in Australia.
- Have you heard how the Maralinga people in South Australia survived aggressive colonisation, including dispossession, to enable atomic testing? Watch their story of strength and resilience in Maralinga Tjarutja.
- Lastly, re-watch classics like Samson and Delilah, Mabo and Satellite Boy.
If you’re looking for more great movies, series and documentaries head over to the ABC’s Walking Together website and iview collection, ABC Indigenous or NITV on demand.
How can I learn more?
It’s important to keep up the momentum beyond the “trend”, in order to make long-lasting, impactful change.
For so long, Indigenous voices have been excluded from mainstream media.
“There is a critical need for spaces that are safe and for us, so that conversations aren’t happening in a void and without us,” Ms Reid says.
Here are a few great platforms owned by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that you can follow to continue to learn and stay up to date:
Walking Together is taking a look at our nation’s reconciliation journey and where we’ve been and asks the question — where do we go next?
Join us as we listen, learn and share stories from across the country that unpack the truth-telling of our history and embrace the rich culture and language of Australia’s First People.
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