I don’t necessarily keep up with the 24 in 48 Challenges on the blog, but this one is pretty important to me.
I’m writing from the lands of the Jagera and Turrbal people on a weekend which has many names. The main population knows it as Australia Day, but our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities call it many other things such as Invasion Day and Survival day.
As a white cis person I think diverse books are hugely important. We need to hear the voices of people that our media actively encourages us not to listen to or to totally disregard. I firmly believe we should be making room in our lives for those voices, from our news services to our TBRs.
I have read many excellent books by diverse authors who have given me eye opening moments. Not Just Black and White by Lesley and Tammy Williams taught me that the government was stealing wages from Aboriginal people during my lifetime but this was not called slavery. Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms by Dr Anita Heiss taught me that the Japanese Prisoners of War in the Cowra camp were treated much better than the Aboriginal people in the mission just down the road. Charlie Perkins’ memoir A Bastard Like Me taught me that as recently as within the last 100 years, station owners would go hunting and murdering Aboriginal people the same way they might go roo shooting.
Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe is the book I want to talk about more in depth though. This book taught me that everything that I was taught in school and the things that we are still teaching in school about the Aboriginal people are completely false. In this book Pascoe uses records and photos kept by white invaders to show that the Aboriginal people had used many tools to work and tame the land, and were not the opportunistic nomads or hunters and gatherers that white mythology would have you believe. There were aqueducts and fish traps thousands of years old, and the cultivation of certain crops such as yams. This book uses trusted sources and should be made a part of the school curriculum.
I wish this book was compulsory reading for all white Australians, especially the ones who will be sporting Southern Cross tattoos and Aussie flag capes this weekend.
Which diverse books have had a major impact on you?