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Coolabah  2011 

Swallowed Words: bringing up an Aboriginal past in the city

Keywords: urban Aboriginal art production , storytelling , Parramatta

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Abstract:

Many Aboriginal stories have not been allowed to be told historically due to theover-whelming dominance of non-Aboriginal stories. Many Aboriginal stories were onceoutlawed and so were forgotten, some only partially remembered, many now only told in thelanguage of the invaders. There are other Aboriginal stories, however, especially those ofparticular urban Aboriginal peoples, which have lain ‘dormant’, protected by subversive familyhistories and embedded in objects claimed as the possessions of the Aboriginal peopleconcerned. Some of these once ‘swallowed’ stories are now being regurgitated, re-emerging intoa world that does not always recognise them as true. I am a non-Indigenous womananthropologist and in this paper I recount some different versions of a story ‘told’ in differentways; through the signs and symbols of the Australian nation state, the movements of myAboriginal research collaborators through what is claimed as their Country, through verbalstorytelling, and through artefacts and paintings.

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