Not Signed-In
Which clippings match 'Mob' keyword pg.1 of 1
05 JUNE 2007

Ten Canoes: an allegory about respect and community

"Bout time to tell you a story, eh? Then I'll tell you one of ours...

It is longtime ago. It is our time, before you other mob came from cross the ocean...longtime before then. The rains been good and ten of the men go on the swamp, to hunt the eggs of gumang, the magpie goose. One of the men, the young fella, has a wrong love, so the old man tell him a story...a story of the ancient ones, them wild and crazy ancestors who come after the spirit time, after the flood that covered the whole land...

It's a good story, this story I'm gonna be tellin' you 'bout the ancient ones. There's more wrong love in this story, and plenty spears too, and plenty wives...too many wives if you ask me...a beautiful young one and a bit of a jealous one and the older wise one and even more wives than that.

And there's plenty happens in this story...there's a stranger comes and one of them wives goes missin' and there's a man with a belly big as a mountain. There's sorcery and magic too, and a wrong spear in the wrong body, and more spears and bad spirits. And even that's not everything that's happening in this story.

Ahh, you gotta see this story of mine cause it'll make you laugh, even if you're not a blackfella. Might cry a bit too eh? But then you laugh some more...cause this story is a big true story of my people. True thing.

The film Ten Canoes employs a cyclical structure to represent its Indigenous Australian world view. This is done through using a story within a story that works an allegory about respect and community."
Rolf De Heer (Director) & Peter Djigirr (Co–Director)



AboriginalallegoryAustraliaAustralian Aboriginecanoecommunitycycliccyclic narrativecyclical narrative • De Heer • Djigirr • dramafilmIndigenousIndigenous Australiansmobnarrativeparablerespect • Ten Canoes
18 JUNE 2006

Reterritorialisation And Reinscription Of Adelaide's City Centre

Lee–Anne Hall (p.64–66)
Wearing suggests heterotopias as places willingly entered as points of escape and refusal of subject identities.
They provide a ?venue for making marginalised people visible and in solidarity or coalition movements with others?.[70] The value of the heterotopic space for Indigenous groups would appear manifold. For the Indigenous users of the Square, space may be shaped as a consequence of the dominant culture?s institutions, but it is not shaped the coloniser culture. Heterotopic space is created, shaped and lived through Indigenous cultural discourses; knowledge, culture, values and systems argue that the mobilising of culturally specific discourses considered ?discontinuous, disqualified, illegitimate knowledges? is both counterpoint and refusal of the self–appointed ruling culture. The resulting zones enable an intimacy in a highly supervised environment such as the City Square, while also being a space where Indigenous identity and authority is affirmed. In such environments heterotopias function as ?insulating? spaces within which there is a managed defering capacity and purpose reminds us of the profound ways in which Indigenous culture has been disrupted. These spaces are both Indigenous creations and postcolonial artefact, for as Jacobs reminds us, space and cultures are constituted by ?their necessary positioning in the modern?. [72]
Cowlishaw uses Sennett and Cobb to forward the notion that an ?arena of dignity? may be strategically created by Aborigines as both defence and guard of the group. ?Arenas of dignity? may have a prosaic form as exemplified through small Indigenous groups sitting on the ground playing Bingo.[73] In this setting, ?members of a group can gain their sense of honour from the group?s integrity rather than from those who dominate the economic political arena?. Morris and Sansom offer readings of Indigenous gatherings as defiant and on occasion self consciously resistant to the conventions of the dominant European culture.
Indigenous users of Victoria Square do not find themselves secreted away from ?inter–racial dealings?. Their heterotopic formation exists upon a ground which maximises the potential for surveillance and control by the City administrators and police. As objects of the authoritarian gaze it would appear that they have opened themselves to rule and subjugation. Yet, their use of space might also be read as a strategic engagement with the City. By never being lost from view Indigenous users of the Square confront their observers with those they have sought to dispossess, and who continue to refuse to go away. As to whether their heterotopic formations are knowingly iconoclastic, and therefore a deliberate attack upon the venerated settler space, is unknown. What does seem certain is their insistence that this space is also theirs. Hence, Indigenous presence in the Square may be understood as both reterritorialisation of the City centre and a reinscription of the space as still Aboriginal ground.

[70] Betsy M. Wearing, Leisure and Feminist Theory (London: Sage Publications), 1998, 171.
[71] Foucault in Gordon, C., 1980, Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings (New York: Pantheon Books), 81?83.
[72] Jacobs, Edge of Empire, 25.
[73] Gillian.K. Cowlishaw, ?The Materials for Identity Construction?, in J. Beckett, ed. Past and Present ? The Construction of Aboriginality (Canberra: Aboriginal Studies Press), 1988, 87?107.

Hall describes the use of Adelaide's (Australia) public Squares (Victoria, Light, Hindmarsh, Whitmore and Hurtle) by Indigenous Australians. She describes their use in terms of the competing Euro–centric understanding of the space originally conceptualised by the Surveyor–General Colonel William Light and the Kaurna people, the rightful owners of the Adelaide plains.

This paper is available from: Humanities Research – Cultural Politics and Iconography



AboriginalAdelaideAustralia • Bukkiyana • clancontrol • Hall • heterotopiaidentityIndigenous • Kaurna • marginal • mob • Narungga • Ngarrindjeri • Nunga • postcolonial • Raukkan • reterritorialisationsurveillance • Tandanya • territorialisation

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