What is the one most important idea or experience that you have discovered in the writings of indigenous authors (other than Kim Scott) or in the writings of authors about the indigenous experience.

Through studying a few works by Indigenous authors, I’ve come to realise that the most common ideas presented in Indigenous literature is the embracement of Aboriginal culture and what has been taken away from them by the Europeans, as well as the impacts of the Stolen Generations. A text that exemplifies this is one of the poems featured in Inside Black Australia: An Anthology of Aboriginal Poetry, edited by Kevin Gilbert. The poem is called ‘A Letter To My Mother’, written by Eva Johnson. The repetition of “I not see you long time now” throughout the poem, evokes the emotional hardships Indigenous Australians had to experience as a result of the separation of families by the utilitarians. The overall poignant tone of the poem, especially when she says “Give me new language, give me new name” in the fourth line of the poem, outlines the severity of how the Europeans completely reconstructed their identity and removed their culture by giving them new names and forcing them to speak in English instead of their own Indigenous language. The particular word choice in “Gone is my spirit, my dreaming, my name/Gone to these people, our country to claim” emphasises how much power/control the authorities had over the Aboriginals, as they took away their fundamental rights, such as the right to an education. Additionally, this suggests that Indigenous Australians couldn’t pursue any of their aspirations or dream careers and did not have an ideal future.

Another Indigenous author that explores the said ideas, is Errol West in his poem, ‘There is no one to teach me the songs that bring the Moon Bird’ from Inside Black Australia: An Anthology of Aboriginal Poetry, edited by Kevin Gilbert. The word choice of ‘Moon Bird’ in the title itself already implicitly reveals some of the factors that make Indigenous culture unique. “Even yet there is no one to teach me the songs that bring the Moon bird, the fish or any other thing that makes me what I am”, this last stanza connotes his deep spirituality and metaphysical connection to Australian nature, which can be very insightful for someone who isn’t aware of what some Indigenous Australians believe in, spiritually. Furthermore, the statement, “I use my childhood memories of places, people and words to re-create my identity”, gives me a greater understanding on the psychological impacts the original inhabitants experienced because of how they were being mistreated by the utilitarians.

Works Cited

Gilbert, Kevin. Inside Black Australia. Ringwood, Vic., Australia: Penguin, 1988. Print.

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