Our people, our pictures, our voices: Issues in the Re/Presentation of the Australian Indigenous Land Rights Struggle
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On the 26th January 1788, Australia was invaded by the British and a convict colony was established. From this moment, Indigenous Australians were progressively dispossessed of their land and their way of life. The 26th January thus marks the beginning of the struggle for Indigenous land rights in Australia. This struggle now 225 years old, continues, marked over time by a multitude of events, protests and people. For the most part, the story of the land rights struggle has been told by the Australian mainstream media – media which has attracted criticism for their portrayal of Indigenous Australians (and indeed, other minority groups). On the other hand, Australia boasts a vibrant and accomplished Indigenous media sector which has also told the land rights story from a different perspective, albeit to a much smaller audience. The authors are currently a part of a research team which will bring these two elements –mainstream and Indigenous media representations – into a single project. This project will provide a critical analysis of historical and contemporary media representations of the Queensland land rights movement. It seeks to challenge the established dialogue between the mainstream media and Indigenous Australia by exploring more deeply the context around land rights debates. We plan to do this by focussing on the perspectives of Indigenous people who have been involved in the land rights movement, including both the subjects of mainstream news articles and Indigenous media producers. Prioritising and exploring such alternative perspectives will not only present the opportunity to reconsider the role of media representations of the land rights movement in Queensland, but also will enable an Indigenous 'take' on events — in a sense, a ‘participatory version’—to emerge. This paper will present our approach and rationale, discussing the methodological possibilities and challenges of research with Indigenous communities which ultimately seeks to redress media imbalance and injustice by a retelling which elevates Indigenous Australians, their voices, their stories and their pictures.
IAMCR 2013: "Crises, 'Creative Destruction' and the Global Power and Communication Orders"