Current writings by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people belong within a cultural and historical continuity that predates the invasion whilst utilising, adapting and challenging the written genres and forms of colonising culture.
If I’ve done a social media talk for you in the past few years, you’ve most likely seen this quote. It’s my favourite first slide right now. Aptly, it’s also a quote from Anita Heiss, one of the most prolific bloggers in the Deadly Bloggers directory.
Anita’s words really set the scene for the founding principles of Deadly Bloggers – a recognition of the continuity (and unceded sovereignty) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities, the ability to adapt to new ways and new technologies, and the importance and necessity of challenging colonisation. I hope too, that it continues to be the inspiration of work that I do elsewhere online, in particular the Great Moments in Blakistory Fact Sheets.
Events like the Deadly Bloggers Blog Carnival, like festivals (face-to-face or online), networking events, community events, or big days out, are an opportunity to place a focus on Indigenous expressions from around the continent. While we know that Blak History Month and NAIDOC, a week and a month of celebration is no where near enough time to redress injustice, it is an opportunity to savour our victories.
Others, more experienced than me, have said true change only comes when we change structures. They say it’s at the legal level where we are able to make the kind of change that matters. I think they’re right. The law matters and we must seek to alter it so that the sovereignty of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples is recognised. But I also believe that representation matters too. It’s in the voices and expressions of individuals and communities, through song, stories, art and the visual, that we can capture imaginations and help build those movements that will lead to structural change. Alexis Wright, one of the nations greatest storytellers, says,
The art of storytelling is not just being able to sit down for long periods of time to think and write, or having the opportunity to say something about ourselves, or just making up any old story for the moment – whatever comes out of your mouth. Good storytelling is about being challenged to think about, to understand and to work through ideas, to seek knowledge and to think outside the box, to think outside of ones self, to really consider and weigh everything up – all of the angles, to really imagine and visualize how ideas might work in reality, and constructing a story that stays true to the original idea. It is a form of activism that allows us to work with our ideas through our imagination, knowledge and instincts, our principles and values of all times, past, present and future working together – as all times being linked and important to us – not just what is good enough for the moment.
With these words in mind, my vision for Deadly Bloggers is re-inspired. The notion that storytelling is a form of activism, that brings together the past, present and future, resonates. Building and growing digital platforms is a necessary tool for our future, a future that involves capturing imaginations and shaping structures.