Secrets of Nation

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Oceania, United States, Women on 2016-07-26 01:20Z by Steven

Secrets of Nation

Inside Story
2016-07-15

Ann McGrath, Professor of History, Director of the Australian Centre for Indigenous History
Australian National University, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory


Middle ground: detail from Bartering for a Bride, or The Trappers Bride, by Alfred Jacob Miller, c. 1845. Wikipedia Commons

The buried secrets of Australia’s frontier share features with encounters in the United States, writes Ann McGrath

By the 1960s, when I was growing up there, Queensland had become skilled at burying the Aboriginal past, and Queenslanders spoke about its traces in hushed tones. As a child, I wondered why. I recall a particular day when my grandfather Joe whispered that some of his neighbours had a “touch of the tarbrush.” “What does that mean?” I had no clue. He told me that it meant Aboriginal ancestry. I was flummoxed by these comments, which seemed out of character. A tram driver for most of his working life, Joe had refused promotion because the new job would have involved punishing people who could not afford to pay. A son of the Great Depression, he respected hardworking men and women. I had never before heard him say anything that sounded discriminatory or racist.

Only after years of archival research into Australian history did I realise why it was necessary to speak about such topics in a whisper. Unions between Aboriginal women and white men were against the law. You did not want the police to hear. You did not want your neighbours to suffer the shame and the punishment of fines or incarceration. Where Joe grew up in north Queensland, white men went to jail for cohabiting with Aboriginal women. Worse, with marriage prohibited and Aboriginal marriage law not recognised, their children were classed as “illegitimate.” Aboriginal wives and children were taken away.

Keeping these “secrets of nation” as family secrets became common sense, and hence a deeply ingrained practice. Not only had Aboriginal people supposedly just “gone” from the urban and rural landscape with no heroic battles, but according to what we were taught in primary school, it was as if they had never even shared the same spaces. Let alone fallen in love, married, and loved their children.

When I became a historian, I started to investigate the history of race and colonialism, and eventually came to the topic of intermarriage across colonising boundaries. The history of love, above and beyond other themes, seemed to promise gendered clues that might help people understand what lay beneath the surface of history, clues to buried, intimate secrets – the private stuff that makes our nations tick…

Read the entire article here.

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Hybrid by Robert Wood

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, Oceania, Passing on 2016-06-15 16:25Z by Steven

Hybrid by Robert Wood

Mascara Literary Review
2015-10-04

Robert Wood

Robert Wood grew up in a multicultural household in Perth. He holds degrees from the Australian National University and the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a National Undergraduate Scholar and a Benjamin Franklin Fellow respectively. He has edited for Margaret River Press, Wild Dingo Press and Overland, and volunteered for the Small Press Network, Philadelphia Fringe Festival and Books through Bars. He has published work in literary journals such as Southerly, Plumwood Mountain and Counterpunch and a academic journals including Foucault Studies, JASAL and Journal of Poetics Research. He currently hosts a reading and conversation series at The School of Life and is a regular contributor to Cultural Weekly. His next book, heart-teeth, is due out from Electio Editions later this year.

What is the hybrid to do?

I have passed as a white man for most of my life. I have a name – Robert Wood – that is invisible in the hegemonic Anglo society of suburban Australia. I have a body that if a little tanned, a little hook nosed, a little ‘Latin’ or ‘Mediterranean’, is nevertheless unthreateningly, benignly unnoticeable. I present in dress and language, in what Pierre Bourdieu called habitus, as white. But I am also a person of colour. My mother is brown. She is Malayalee from Kerala in South India. Although there are degrees of complexity and complexion in the vales and folds of family history, through her I participate in a network of colouredness. Colouredness means both the aesthetic reality of the body itself, how we look, and the political meaning of bodies, how we are represented. In other words my mother’s skin is literally not ‘white’ (or for that matter ‘pink’, ‘yellow’ or ‘black’) and we have a shared history of colonial oppression that is racially based, which involves the British, the Portugese and northern India…

Read the entire article here.

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Amrita Hepi’s New Dance Collab Explores Authenticity, Race & The Politics Of Passing

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, Oceania, Passing, Women on 2016-06-01 18:06Z by Steven

Amrita Hepi’s New Dance Collab Explores Authenticity, Race & The Politics Of Passing

Oyster
Paddington, New South Wales, Australia
2016-05-10

Jerico Mandybur

Local hero Amrita Hepi is showcasing her new dance piece ‘Passing’ — with costumes by Honey Long and sound by Laverne of Black Vanilla — alongside Jahra Rager at Next Wave Festival this week. To celebrate, we linked her up with another one of our fave woke ladies, Jerico Mandybur, and they chatted through identity, the WOC diaspora and the politics of passing.

Get to know the story behind the stellar performance piece below (before you make the good life choice to head along to Next Wave and see it IRL).

Jerico Mandybur: Hey! So it’s called ‘Passing’, can you talk to me about what naming it that means, and basically what the concept of “passing” means in relation to the work?

Amrita Hepi: Well, we came up with the idea of naming it ‘Passing’, because the work itself kind of matched bodies under pressure. So the idea of women of colour and their intersections, and what it means to be of many world races and titles, and I guess when you’re “passing” there’s always this kind of fear of inauthenticity, which is something that’s very human that we all feel. But in relation to the work, it was just feeling like we were constantly only just passing, and there was this fear of almost like being discovered as something other than what we were. Does that make sense? [Laughs]…

Read the entire interview here.

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Amrita Hepi interview

Posted in Articles, Arts, Interviews, Media Archive, Oceania, Passing on 2016-05-24 19:09Z by Steven

Amrita Hepi interview

Time Out Sydney
2015-05-24

Dee Jefferson, Arts & Culture Editor

Sydney knows – and loves – Amrita for her Hollaback nights and Beyoncé dance classes, but her latest project is far more fierce

Amrita Hepi was in the final creative phase of her dance-theatre work Passing, with New Zealand-born dancer and spoken-word artist Jahra Wasasala, when Beyoncé dropped her first Lemonade single and film clip, ‘Formation’.

“I was like man… What the!? This is everything we’re going through right now. And people were saying ‘How dare she have a political statement? She’s not even that black! She dyes her hair blonde!’.’”…

Passing explores identity from the perspective of two women who not only have mixed cultural heritage, but whose dance practice spans genres as far apart as classical ballet, contemporary Indigenous choreography and dance hall…

Read the entire interview here.

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Black Velvet: redefining and celebrating Indigenous Australian women in art

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, Oceania, Women on 2016-05-19 01:47Z by Steven

Black Velvet: redefining and celebrating Indigenous Australian women in art

The Conversation (US Pilot)
2016-05-08

Sandra Phillips, Lecturer
Creative Writing and Literary Studies, School of Media, Entertainment and Creative Arts, Creative Industries Faculty
Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

*Warning: This article contains graphic language that may upset some readers, while Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers should be aware that it may contain images, voices or names of deceased people.

With her first solo exhibition, artist Boneta-Marie Mabo has been inspired by the State Library of Queensland’s collections to create new works that speak back to colonial representations of Indigenous womanhood.

She found portraits of Indigenous women without any name, or with labels such as “black velvet” or “gin”; objects, rather than women. Men on the frontier sought to control Aboriginal lands as well as women’s bodies – with or without consent.

The 2005 documentary Pioneers of Love discusses the colonial fetish for Indigenous women.

Revered author Henry Lawson was one of the first to popularise the phrase ‘black velvet’. It described the soft, smooth skin of Aboriginal women – or ‘gins’, as they were referred to then. The men who associated with Aboriginal women were known as ‘gin jockeys’. And their children were often referred to as ‘burnt corks’. – Watch from 1:52 of this clip of the documentary.

But Boneta-Marie’s exhibition, Black Velvet: your label, is more than a response to the past. It’s also about the struggle not to let others define our identity. And it’s a celebration of Indigenous women today, including Boneta-Marie’s grandmother, activist and Order of Australia winner Bonita Mabo

Read the entire article here.

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Raising mixed race kids

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Oceania on 2016-05-01 00:13Z by Steven

Raising mixed race kids

Special Broadcasting Service Corporation
Melbourne, Australia
2016-04-27

Ian Rose

The prospect of a family holiday has Ian Rose reflecting on the pleasures of bringing up mixed-race children, and the responsibility to keep them in touch with both cultures.

Let’s get this out there straight away. I am a pom. An unreconstructed, unapologetic, dyed-in-the-wool Englishman. I take tea in the morning, consider any code of football using a non-round ball to be knuckle-headed frippery, and I will automatically apologise if you stand on my foot.

Eight years and counting down-under has not made the slightest dent in my pomminess.

I was brought here by the love of an endlessly patient Vietnamese-Australian woman, a love that has borne hybrid fruit in the form of two children, now aged an exhausting five and six. They’re Aussie. But they’re English, too. And Vietnamese.

So this year, to connect them with that side of their heritage, we’ve decided to take a family holiday to Vietnam.

“Hey, kids,” I announce at the dinner table, partly to distract the boy from his greens.

“Guess where we’re going on holiday? To Vietnam! Yaaaaay!”

My daughter’s face falls into a gurn of displeasure.

“Awww,” she laments, “why can’t we go to England?”…

Read the entire article here.

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An Heir to a Tribe’s Culture Ensures Its Language Is Not Forgotten

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Oceania on 2016-04-11 02:11Z by Steven

An Heir to a Tribe’s Culture Ensures Its Language Is Not Forgotten

The Saturday Profile
The New York Times
2016-04-08

Michelle Innis


Stan Grant, a Wiradjuri elder, at his home in Narrandera, Australia. Mr. Grant was an author of “A New Wiradjuri Dictionary,” after years of advocating to preserve the Wiradjuri language.
Credit Adam Ferguson for The New York Times

NARRANDERA, AustraliaStan Grant, crudely tattooed in a way that hints at the petty crime and drunken brawls of his youth, clasped gnarly hands across his round belly and murmured: “birrangbirrang, birrangbirrang.”

Mr. Grant had spotted a small kingfisher, or birrangbirrang in Wiradjuri, as it swooped low over the Murrumbidgee River in the oppressive summer heat, calling to its mate.

Slipping back into English, he spoke over the whirring of cicadas in the river red gum trees that line the sandy banks: “It is smaller than a kookaburra. Its mate will be nearby.”

Mr. Grant, 75, is an elder of Australia’s second-largest Aboriginal tribe, the Wiradjuri, who roamed most of central New South Wales before white farmers surged inland in the early 1800s.

Until recently, he was one of only a handful of people still speaking the tribal language, also called Wiradjuri (pronounced wi-RAD-jury), which nearly died out in the 20th century, when Aboriginals could be jailed for speaking their native tongue in public.

“You are nobody without language,” Mr. Grant said. “The world does not respect a person who does not have language.”…

…Mr. Grant was probably 8 or 9 years old the night a local policeman heard his grandfather, Wilfred Johnson, and locked him up. But he does not recall a sense of alarm.

“He was an elegant man,” he said of Mr. Johnson. “He was beautifully dressed, usually in a coat and hat. But he was black. So it wasn’t the first time he had spent the night in jail.”

After the arrest, Mr. Johnson, who spoke seven languages, refused to speak Wiradjuri in public…

Read the entire article here.

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Family inspires book on life

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Oceania on 2016-01-23 03:06Z by Steven

Family inspires book on life

Communitynews.com.au
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
2016-01-12

Bryce Luff, Fremantle Gazette


The idea of family has changed: Matthew Green and Naomi Kissiedu-Green with their children Savannah, Kobi and Ebony Green. Picture: Matt Jelonek

An Atwell mother disheartened by a lack of books depicting multicultural families has decided to fill the gap in the market herself.

Naomi Kissiedu-Green, a woman of Ghanaian heritage, has three children under four years of age with her Australian husband Matthew Green.

The qualified childcare worker said she searched high and low for books depicting families with diverse backgrounds to read to her kids.

Locally she could find little so she imported literature from overseas.

That is when The Colourful Life! series, Kissiedu-Green’s first publishing venture, was born…

Read the entire article here.

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Illicit Love: Interracial Sex and Marriage in the United States and Australia

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Oceania, United States on 2015-12-22 04:05Z by Steven

Illicit Love: Interracial Sex and Marriage in the United States and Australia

University of Nebraska Press
2015-12-01
616 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-8032-3825-1

Ann McGrath, Professor of History, Director of the Australian Centre for Indigenous History
Australian National University, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

Illicit Love is a history of love, sex, and marriage between Indigenous peoples and settler citizens at the heart of two settler colonial nations, the United States and Australia. Award-winning historian Ann McGrath illuminates interracial relationships from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth century through stories of romance, courtship, and marriage between Indigenous peoples and colonizers in times of nation formation.

The romantic relationships of well-known and ordinary interracial couples provide the backdrop against which McGrath discloses the “marital middle ground” that emerged as a primary threat to European colonial and racial supremacy in the Atlantic and Pacific Worlds from the Age of Revolution to the Progressive Era. These relationships include the controversial courtship between white, Connecticut-born Harriett Gold and southern Cherokee Elias Boudinot; the Australian missionary Ernest Gribble and his efforts to socially segregate the settler and aboriginal population, only to be overcome by his romantic impulses for an aboriginal woman, Jeannie; the irony of Cherokee leader John Ross’s marriage to a white woman, Mary Brian Stapler, despite his opposition to interracial marriages in the Cherokee Nation; and the efforts among ordinary people in the imperial borderlands of both the United States and Australia to circumvent laws barring interracial love, sex, and marriage.

Illicit Love reveals how marriage itself was used by disparate parties for both empowerment and disempowerment and came to embody the contradictions of imperialism. A tour de force of settler colonial history, McGrath’s study demonstrates vividly how interracial relationships between Indigenous and colonizing peoples were more frequent and threatening to nation-states in the Atlantic and Pacific worlds than historians have previously acknowledged.

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Mixed-race marriages a reflection of multicultural Blacktown

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Oceania on 2015-12-02 20:08Z by Steven

Mixed-race marriages a reflection of multicultural Blacktown

The Daily Telegraph
Surry Hills, New South Wales, Australia
2015-12-01

Nick Houghton

Joanne Vella, Editor
Blacktown Advocate

WHEN Stephen Zahra went on a four-week holiday to Vietnam in 2006, little did he know how life changing the trip would be.

His love for Vietnam inspired him to quit his job and move permanently to the southeast east Asian nation.

It was a decision which would lead him to the love of his life, his wife Dao Nguyen, and the start of his present day life back in Australia as a happily married father of daughter Hayley.

Stephen, a second generation Maltese, and Vietnamese Dao are the changing face of Australian families and the multicultural melting pot which is Blacktown.

“Our wedding day in Ho Chi Minh City was probably the biggest reminder how big the mix of cultures is between Dao and myself,” Stephen said.

“My family flew over for the wedding and despite having no ability to speak Vietnamese with Dao’s family found a way to communicate and make the day truly memorable…

Read the entire article here.

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