Oz Lit Week 3: Writing by and about Indigenous authors.

What a treat this week to hear so much about the indigenous experience. Starting with Bennelong, Watkin Tench and Eleanor Dark’s fictionalisation of these characters we learnt of the tenuous attempts of two radically different societies to get to know one another. Tench emphasises the “gentleness and humanity” of the natives, and this is something that was remarked upon by many of those who arrived on the first boats. However -as we saw in That Dead Man Dance– it was the competition for hunting grounds and for land on which to build houses that led to the kinds of tensions that persist to this day. The film Charlie’s Country shows painfully how these tensions persist through the whole country, especially where there is still a vital, active tribal remnant, as there is in and around Darwin. Some of the most recent indigenous authors we looked at, like Romaine Moreton have produced memorable films (A Walk with Words) that capture the complexity of the contemporary indigenous experience. 

Gulpil

Blog topics flowing from this week’s class include the following:

*Describe in your own words what you think David Unaipon is trying to say about what gives his people meaning and what destroys that meaning.

*Create a mini-digital kit that brings together a number of web resources that shed light on David Unaipon’s role in keeping the indigenous spirit alive. This could form a sequence of web links that you describe for the benefit of your reader.

*Using Eleanor Dark’s manner of re-creating history as fiction, take any Australian historical moment from the Nineteenth Century and write a paragraph that brings the event to life.

*Lisa Bellear in her poem “Urbanised Reebocks” describes a moment in which she finds a moment of freedom from the shackles of her past. Can you identify a similar moment in your own life? Can you write a short prose paragraph or even a short poem that captures the significance of this event?

*Remember you MUST complete at least ONE PEER REVIEW each week and be sure to copy and paste the review as a new entry in your own blog (make sure you add your peer’s URL to your post- so that anyone reading your peer review can find what it was you were commenting on!)

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