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Post-colonial Literature for Children EDU32PLC Week 4 - Lecture 7. European voices in Aboriginal History: Telling the Big Picture. © La Trobe University, David Beagley 2006. References.

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post colonial literature for children edu32plc week 4 lecture 7

Post-colonial Literature for ChildrenEDU32PLCWeek 4 - Lecture 7

European voices in Aboriginal History: Telling the Big Picture

© La Trobe University, David Beagley 2006

references
References

Foster, J., Finnis, E.J. and Nimon, M. (1995) Aboriginal Australia: a century of attitudinal change. in Australian Children’s Literature: an exploration of genre and theme. Wagga: CIS, Charles Sturt University

Heiss, A. (2002) Writing about Indigenous Australia - some issues to consider and protocols to follow: a discussion paper. Southerly. 62(2) Summer: 197-205

Jarman, M. (1999) Postcolonialism and language use in Australian Children’s Literature: a case study of The Children of Mirrabooka. in Something to Crow About: new perspectives in Literature for Young people. eds. Susan Clancy and David Gilbey. Wagga Wagga: CIS, CSU

binary approaches
Binary approaches
  • Aboriginal voice/European voice
  • Positive/negative
  • Past/present
  • History/future

How do you prefer to remove a band-aid?

  • Slowly and delicately …
  • Just rip it straight off !!!
differing approaches
Differing approaches

Positive reminiscences have advantages

  • Forward looking, not living in the past
  • Focus on the good aspects, not the “black armband” features
  • Enables pride in self and identity
  • Emphasis on young audience promotes shared identifications
  • Don’t scare the children
slide5
But ……

The reality is …

  • Near genocide across a continent over two centuries - massacres, dispossession, racism
  • Life expectancy 20+ years less than other Australians
  • Many communities with 3rd world conditions in health, housing, finance
  • Immense social problems of adjustment to European expectations

How is this story to be told?

european stories and story telling
European stories and story telling

Structural and contextual elements

  • Linear history - focus on sequence of events, causes and consequences
  • Individual characters - independent of each other and “negotiating” their relationships
  • Setting and place - background against which the human drama takes place
  • Are there distinct cultural voices that create different ways of telling stories?
european perspectives
European perspectives

In telling Aboriginal stories, are Europeans:

  • Telling of their own role in the shared history
  • Coming to terms with the negative aspects
  • Appropriating the stories and their cultural roles
  • Reaching towards a shared understanding
  • Mediating and interpreting the “foreign”
  • Recognizing the integrity of Aboriginal culture
  • Are European versions European stories or Aboriginal stories?
protocols for european writers
Protocols for European writers

Language

  • Vocabulary – Aboriginal / European
  • Idiom
  • Voice

Consultation

  • Local, contextual
  • Mutual creation – mixed voice for mixed audiences

Research

protocols for european writers1
Protocols for European writers

Respect

  • Ownership of story, context and detail
  • Use of terminology and address
  • Representation – individuals, events, beliefs
  • Perspective and purpose
fact or fiction
Fact or Fiction?

Stories for older readers

  • Children of Mirrabooka
  • Deadly, Unna?
  • European authors
  • Focus on the interaction between Europeans and Aboriginals
  • Do not shy away from the negative and confronting elements
  • Present the story in direct, realist style
children of mirrabooka
Children of Mirrabooka

“Dream/flashback/time travel” style used by other authors for similar stories

  • Tangara - Nan Chanucy, You, me and Murrawee

Allows two voices to be used: European in present, Aboriginal in past

Allows “discovery” by modern world or character of hidden crimes

Therefore, allows reflection by modern European on past injustices

But also maintains explorer/discovery binary of post-colonialism

children of mirrabooka1
Children of Mirrabooka

Probably the first non Aboriginal novel which deals explicitly and as an extended theme with Land Rights and dispossession

But does the fantasy / time travel aspect weaken the reality of the situation by making it fantasy, or by resigning it to history?

Eventually, the colonization of the station is accepted and continues – Jenny as colonial master, despite her pangs of conscience..

children of mirrabooka2
Children of Mirrabooka

Multiple voices:

  • European/Aboriginal
  • Authorial/Narrative
  • Can such a story be told in an unbiased, balanced way?
  • Is the story about the European in the present or the Aboriginal in the past?
  • Is it appropriation of an Aboriginal story for European sensibilities?
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