Storytelling Reconciliation: The Role of Literature in Reconciliation in Australia

By Michael X. Savvas.

Published by The Diversity Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Historically, with some significant exceptions, non-Indigenous-Australian writers’ depictions of Indigenous Australian people and culture have been largely racist, unrealistic and inaccurate. This is a strong reason why non-Indigenous people’s writing about Indigenous people and subject matter needs to be monitored by Indigenous Australians. The Australia Council for the Arts has produced a set of protocols, Writing Cultures: Protocols for Producing Australian Literature, which argue for the need to avoid negative stereotypes, to create respectful writing based on research and on consultation with Indigenous Australians. Providing that these protocols are adopted, then non-Indigenous Australians should be able to write about Indigenous subject matter. Without this compromise, there may be resentment from both sides of the debate—from both Indigenous Australians and non-Indigenous Australians who cherish freedom of expression for subject matter. Perhaps some disagreement is inevitable, hindering the process of what I term Storytelling Reconciliation. I propose that a national body be established which evaluates whether writing submitted to it is in the spirit of Storytelling Reconciliation.
I have coined the term Storytelling Reconciliation to refer to the contribution that writers/ storytellers and others involved in the production and dissemination of stories can make towards achieving Reconciliation between non-Indigenous and Indigenous people.

Keywords: Reconciliation, Indigenous, Non-indigenous, Australia

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 11, Issue 5, pp.95-108. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 779.867KB).

Dr. Michael X. Savvas

Lecturer/Academic Advisor, Student Learning Centre, Flinders University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA, Australia


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