Storytelling has always been an essential part of Indigenous culture. It is a powerful means of passing on knowledge, history and philosophies to new generations. It invites conversation, questioning and moral inquiry. It challenges our perception of the world and its many complexities, helps us heal from the traumas of the past and weaves a deep connection with community. Ultimately, it influences how we care for others and for country.

In recent months, storytelling has taken centre stage as the world turned its attention to  the injustice’s experiences by people of colour. Black Lives Matter, a movement founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer and recent death of George Floyd, has re-ignited a collective interest in our own justice system and the treatment of Indigenous and Torres Strait Island peoples in Australia. For non-Indigenous Australians, the past few months has stimulated a newfound interest in the histories and stories of our people. We see this is a unique opportunity to learn and grow as a nation. As such, the Watarrka Foundation felt it important to share some voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through a selection of highly acclaimed films, books, podcasts and other digital resources.


Recommended Watching


In My Bloods It Runs (2020)


‘In My Blood It Runs’ is an observational feature documentary following 10-yr-old Arrernte Aboriginal boy Dujuan as he grows up Alice Springs, Australia. The documentary addresses Indigenous youth detention and the ongoing removal of children. More than just a documentary, the team behind the film are working with a range of national partners to deliver an impact campaign strategised in consultation with Dujuan, his family and an advisory group of senior Arrente and Garra Elders and leaders. To learn more, visit https://inmyblooditruns.com/

Gurrumul (2018)

‘Gurrumul’ tells the story of Indigenous artist Dr G Yunupingu who resided on Elcho Island in far North East Arnhem Land. Blind from birth, Dr G Yunupingu wrote and recorded songs in YolÅ‹u languages and English. Considered one of the most important voices of our time, this documentary explores the artists deep connection to community and Country. Watch the trailer here:


Mabo (2012)

‘Mabo’ is a film that follows the battle waged by Torres Strait Islander man Eddie Koiki Mabo to bring about native land title legislation. This film spans the iconic land rights campaigner’s life, from growing up on Murray Island in the Torres to spearheading the High Court to overthrow terra nullius. To watch the full film, visit https://iview.abc.net.au/show/mabo

For the kids: Little J & Big Cuz (2013 – Present)

‘Little J and Big Cuz’ is a tv series that follows the adventures of two Indigenous Australian kids living with their Nanna and Old Dog. The series offers fun and educational Indigenous and First Nations content from Australia. To watch the series, visit https://ab.co/31P13dI


Recommended Reading


‘Growing up Aboriginal in Australia’ by Anita Heiss (2018)

‘Growing up Aboriginal in Australia’ is an anthology recounting childhood stories of family, country and belonging. Accounts from well-known authors and high-profile identities sit alongside those from newly discovered writers of all ages. All of the contributors speak from the heart – sometimes calling for empathy, oftentimes challenging stereotypes, always demanding respect. Purchase the book from Indigenous publish house Magabala

‘Talking to My Country’ by Stan Grant (2016)

After writing a short but powerful piece for the Guardian in response to the 2015 Adam Goodes debate, journalist Stan Grant followed it up with ‘Talking to My Country’. The book is a personal, passionate and powerful response to racism in Australia and the sorrow, shame, anger and hardship of being an Indigenous man. You can purchase the book here
https://www.booktopia.com.au/talking-to-my-country-stan-grant/book/9781460751985.html

For the kids: ‘Same, but little diff’rent’ by Kylie Dunstan

Told in the stunning collage artwork for which Kylie Dunstan is acclaimed, the story is related by a child living in a southern city and her friend Normie, who lives in the top end. As they compare notes about their lives, activities and interests, they discover how very much they have in common, despite their contrasting environments. Purchase a copy of this classic here 


Recommended Listening


Podcast - Curtain Podcast: Episode 68

Co-Hosts Amy McQuire and Martin Hodgson look at the wave of protests sweeping the world following the horrific killing of George Floyd by police. They examine similar cases in Australia, why the media is so inept at reporting on these issues and what is required to get justice for Aboriginal people in this country. Listen here https://curtainthepodcast.wordpress.com/

Podcast - Always was, always will be our stories

This podcast features inspiring conversations with Indigenous role models and trailblazers. The podcast is written, hosted, produced and edited by Marlee Silva, on the unceded lands of the Dharrawal people. Listen here https://open.spotify.com/show/1TMZMcKnu2xQXfrPHvdMMZ

For the kids: Little Yarns

‘Little Yarns’ is a podcast series that takes young listeners on a journey to a different nation to learn a first word on Country. Ideal for families listening together at home or as a listening resource in early learning centres, Little Yarns explores the diverse languages, stories and countries of Indigenous Australia. Listen here https://www.abc.net.au/kidslisten/little-yarns/



Other Resources


Common Ground

Common Ground is a website devoted to sharing First Nations cultures, histories and lived experiences. They aim to help Australians see the value of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures through providing access to engaging and authentic content that will help bridge gaps in knowledge. Visit the website here https://www.commonground.org.au/

Walking Together (2020)

An online collection of content exploring Indigenous people and the Black Lives Matter movement, curated by the ABC. The online resource was developed in response to an increase in Australians who would like to do something to help improve reconciliation. Visit the collection here https://www.abc.net.au/events/walking-together/


To support the Foundation and our projects within the Northern Territory, make a donation at www.givenow.com.au/watarrkafoundation




Our Partners

Remote-Tours
Dentons
Westpac
Slow Food
RSM2
Adpitye