“While my name is remembered, I teach”: Oodgeroo Noonuccal and cross-cultural storytelling for children
KeywordsAustralian Indigenous writing, autobiography, children’s literature, cross-cultural communication, translation
Focusing on Stradbroke Dreamtime (1972), the first prose book of an Australian Indigenous poet, activist and educationalist, Oodgeroo Noonuccal (also known as Kath Walker), I reflect on questions which arise around cross-cultural communication and translation. Prompted by the unfinished project aimed at translating Stradbroke Dreamtime into Polish, I deliberate on challenges to respond appropriately to Australian Indigenous writing, particularly if it is influenced by white editing and publishing practices which often privilege Eurocentric views. Situating Stradbroke Dreamtime in the broader context of Noonuccal’s life, political activism and pedagogical efforts, I read her work as an intergenerational, inclusive and transformative project, and an act of solidarity between generations and cultures. In the context of Indigenous Australia, the concept of solidarity is often associated with reconciliation. I explore this nexus, arguing that Stradbroke Dreamtime reflects Walker’s strategy for reconciliation which includes empowering children through storytelling.
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