Reading, Writing, Hearing, Loving: Voices of Country. Dr Danièle Hromek (Budawang/Yuin) shares her recommendations for reading, listening and viewing to increase understanding and knowledge of Aboriginal cultures. This list will be added to over time.

Warami. Walawaani. Welcome. As is the protocol for language, in the first instance I use the language of the land I am on (Warami – Dharug, one of the languages used in Sydney), and then the language of my Ancestors (Walawaani – Dhurga, a language from the South Coast), to say Welcome to my reading list.

I write “reading list” while also knowing it is going to include listenings, watchings and other ways of sharing the First Voices of this continent – our perspectives, our ways of seeing and expressing about the world and, importantly, our ways of designing the world. I also acknowledge here Elders, Knowledge Holders and Ancestors who did whatever it took so I could be here to share with you, often in secret and unseen ways, keeping lore through generations of people. It is only because of them that I have anything to share. I also acknowledge Country and its role in holding knowledges safe and enabling them to evolve, like an eternal land library, as part of the Law of the Land. I recognise my role in treading lightly on Country as a means of ensuring Country is cared for.

This “reading list” comes from an Indigenous women’s worldview. To be more specific, it comes from a Budawang woman’s perspective, who also works in the built environment. Therefore, primarily Indigenous voices will be included. This is not to deny the importance of excellent allies (personally I prefer ‘accomplices’), but rather to elevate a group of voices that has been, to date, suppressed. It will also be written from a first-person perspective, as a reminder of whose voice speaks, and why you might want to read, listen, watch and engage with these resources. Many of the resources will not be directly related to the built environment. This is to recognise the importance of holistic learning, a key aspect of Indigenous pedagogies, and imperative if non-Indigenous people are truly going to begin the journey to join us around the fire that is Aboriginal culture. Come take a seat, we have been waiting for you for a very long time.

Dr Danièle Hromek (Budawang/Yuin)

Episode 1: Deadly Djurumin

Deadly, in an Aboriginal way of speaking, means awesome or brilliant. Djurumin is a word in both Dharug and Dharawal to mean sister. Our first episode features all women, and includes understandings of women’s knowledge, women’s way of viewing the world, and Indigenous women who inspire.

Indigenous Elder Mary Graham describes the essence of Indigenous perception

Aunty Mary Graham in Conversations with Richard Fidler, 2013, ABC Radio

Aunty Mary Graham (Kombu-merri and Waka Waka) discusses her thinking and philosophy about relationships, land, life, protocols and people. At the centre of her understanding are two basic precepts of Aboriginal Law: ‘the land is the law’ and ‘you are not alone in this world’. This listening is so rich and inclusive, while helping to understand an Aboriginal worldview in a very different way to the dominant.

Listen to the interview on the ABC website.

Us Women, Our Ways, Our World

Edited by Pat Dudgeon, Jeannie Herbert, Jill Milroy and Darlene Oxenham, 2017, Magabala Books

We know we have a long way to go to achieve a semblance of gender equality. As Indigenous women, we face this challenge with the oppressive weight of colonisation on top of patriarchy and sexism. This book gives space for Indigenous women to share their stories and tell their truth through a series of essays. They are aspirational, brave and intimate stories about their personal experiences, their heritage, hopes, resistance and resilience.

For more information and to buy this book, visit Magabala Books.

“Indigenous Women’s Visions of an Inclusive Feminism”

Myrna Cunningham, 2006, Development, 49(1), pp 55–59

Myrna Cunningham (Miskita from Nicaragua) writes about the importance of feminism, recognising that it needs to transform to ensure inclusiveness of those women at the periphery of the movement, including Indigenous women. She describes how gender justice for Indigenous women must be grounded in Indigenous self-determination. For us, gender is not a source of oppression. Rather, in our cultures our gender ensures equality, as our positions in our families and our knowledges (I add here, including in our spaces, which for Aboriginal peoples, are gendered) are required to ensure a holistic world experience.

Access through your academic library.

Occupation: Native

Directed by Trisha Morton-Thomas, 2017

To be clear, “native” is not a term we use to describe Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples – which is entirely the point of this documentary produced, written, directed by and featuring Trisha Morton-Thomas (Anmatyerr). Moreton-Thomas, with humour and candour, hits back at colonial versions of history, which choose to hide Indigenous experiences of that same history.

Watch this documentary on SBS: OnDemand.

Cooee Mittigar: A story on Darug songlines

Jasmine Seymour and Leanne Mulgo Watson, 2019, Magabala Books

While most may consider this book by Jasmine Seymour and Leanne Mulgo Watson (Boorooberongal/Darug women) to be for children, the truth is when it comes to understanding Aboriginal culture, people and Country, most non-Indigenous people are still in kindergarten. This beautiful book from the place of first colonial impact contains language and knowledge from the Darug people, offering a new way of seeing the lands in the Sydney area. It is relevant for all on a journey of learning the true story of this continent.

Find out more and buy this book from Magabala Books.

Philosophy in the Wake of Empire Part 5: Tracks of Thought

Aileen Moreton-Robinson with David Rutledge, 2020, Philosopher’s Zone, Radio National

Aileen Moreton-Robinson (Geonpul/Minjerribah/Quandamooka) has a means of framing and understanding connections and relationships with Country, through which she understands the western world, racism, identity and whiteness. She still uses this methodology, a way tracking, that she learned from her grandfather to challenge perceptions of land through capitalism.

Listen to the podcast on the ABC website.