Posted by: Lisa Hill | March 2, 2016

Talking to My Country, by Stan Grant #BookReview

27429427Stan Grant’s new book, Talking to My Country has had a lot of publicity, so I bought a copy to see what the noise was about.

It’s well-named.  It’s straight talking to Australians, about what it means to be Aboriginal in this country.  It’s Stan Grant’s personal and family history, placed in the context of Australia’s national and social history.

And because Stan Grant has ‘made it’ in mainstream Australian society and on the international stage, it will have resonance with people who might otherwise react negatively or ignore it.

It might be a game-changer…

Author: Stan Grant
Title: Talking to My Country
Publisher: Harper Collins, 2016
ISBN: 9781460751978
Source: Personal library, purchased from The Grumpy Swimmer, $29.99

Availability
Fishpond: Talking to My Country


Responses

  1. Looking forwards to when you review the book.

    • LOL Tony, this is it.
      I thought about writing more, but hey, the man, the speech, the book has gone viral…you can read a whole chapter of it online.
      BTW did you hear that the Victorian Government is talking treaty? They can’t do it, of course, because constitutionally that’s a federal responsibility, but the moral leadership is instructive, eh?

      • Being very unfamiliar with Australian politics, I am unfamiliar with the treaty. I guess it has something to do with the aborigines.

        • Yes. Whereas New Zealand had a treaty with its indigenous people back in the 19th century (The Treaty of Waitangi, 1840) Australia maintained the ‘terra nullius’ fiction right up till the Mabo land rights case in 1992 and this fiction was reinforced by the courts. ‘Terra nullius’ is a legal term meaning ‘nobody’s land’ i.e. land that could under international law be taken because it doesn’t belong to anybody, and it was used with disastrous effect because the Aboriginal concept of shared ownership of land didn’t fit with European legal concepts of titles as proof of ownership. The frontier wars were never ‘declared’ because to declare war would (a) have been against the orders of the British Government which condemned the violence if not the taking of land and (b) it would have acknowledged that there were people living here on the land they were fighting for. It would have acknowledged that there were Aboriginal systems of law and governance in place. And because there was ‘no war’ there was no treaty. Aboriginal heroes of resistance get no place in our national war memorial, and their names are largely unknown. (Though some recent award-winning picture books for children may change that for the next generation.)

          The indigenous people are not even acknowledged in our constitution, and they were not counted as citizens until a referendum was passed in 1967. Prior to that only a very small minority who were judged ‘white enough’ were allowed to vote but they had to give up all associations with their own people to be granted this right. It is a real shame that the good will of 1967 was not harnessed to include acknowledgement that they are Australia’s First Peoples in the constitution.

          All this is part of the unfinished business of our nation, and unfortunately it has become politicised. It is a long, complicated and sorry story, and what is needed is a much greater awareness of these issues by ordinary people. I think Stan Grant’s book and his major public profile may help with that…

  2. […] Grant’s Talking to my country (Lisa’s ANZlitLovers review): memoir, exploring the complicated experience of growing up black in a white dominated […]

  3. […] indigenous authors that I’d like everyone to read, they are Stan Grant’s Talking to My Country and this one, Munkara’s memoir of discovering her Aboriginal family.  It is raucous and […]

  4. […] Stan Grant Talking to My Country (HarperCollins Australia) See my review. […]

  5. […] I reviewed Stan Grant’s powerful Talking to My Country back in March of this year, I predicted that it could be a game-changer, but now I think that […]

  6. […] “Talking To My Country” by Stan Grant, see my thoughts here (it’s not really a review) […]

  7. […] Talking to my Country, Stan Grant, (HarperCollins, HarperCollins Publishers), see my review […]


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