Living on Stolen Land
Publisher: Magabala Books
Described as a ‘prose-style manifesto’, Ambelin Kwaymullina’s latest work reminds settler-colonial communities of the large debt we owe to our Indigenous past and how much has been lost and must be regained. It recalls many of our most thoughtful Aboriginal thinkers in its call to action, for “respectful relationships and respectful structures”. Using lyrical prose reminiscent of Kim Scott, Sally Morgan and Karen Wyld, Kwaymullina names the events that occurred on the land of her ancestors. The story of settler colonisation, she says, “is the story of many apocalypses” and an “enterprise of annihilation”. It is a system of oppression and violence that Aboriginal people have endured and resisted since colonisation. In short chapters that expand on notions of time, sovereignty and decolonisation, Kwaymullina’s focus in this brief and difficult-to-classify work appears to be the recovery, recall and reconstruction of ancient knowledge that is lost or discounted by settler communities. This is a valuable and timely reminder that ought to be studied in schools and universities with a view to encouraging conversations about deep listening and honouring a culture that has survived and thrived for millennia.