Authentic and essential: a review of Anita M Heiss’ Dhuuluu-Yala (To Talk Straight): publishing Indigenous literature
Lehman, G, Authentic and essential: a review of Anita M Heiss' Dhuuluu-Yala (To Talk Straight): publishing Indigenous literature, Australian Humanities Review, (33) pp. 1-3. ISSN 1835-8063 (2004) [Refereed Article]
Increasingly, Australia is becoming familiar with Indigenous culture. The mainstream is beginning to collectively recognise the
characters that have populated books, television and film over the past fifty years as something more than remote ghosts of
the past. Aboriginal people are transforming conceptions of Indigenous identity in Australia by our own effort; breaking away
from stereotypes and misunderstandings that have maintained popular perceptions of Aborigines for so long as an
amorphous, ill-defined Other.
Much of this transformation from the 1960s to the 90s was achieved through political voice. In Tasmania it was only through a
concerted political campaign that we were able to gain acceptance of the continuing existence of Indigenous identity. More
recently, in the visual and performing arts and literature, Aboriginal people have increasingly been presented as a culturally
diverse assemblage of nations; comprising individuals and families with stories to tell that are rich with struggle, celebration
and humanity. Evidenced by the massive bridge walks of that marked the culmination of the Reconciliation Movement, there
is arguably a critical mass of cross-cultural understanding in Australia now that is enabling Indigenous narratives to freely
emerge – beyond the constraints of what White Australia was once prepared to admit. But the story of how these narratives
are able to find voice is less appreciated.