Said with more than a token dose of sarcasm, but isn’t it great when each year, Invasion (‘Australia’) Day comes around and we all pretend to give a shit about how we’re on stolen land? On a non-sarcastic level, I almost envy the ignorance of the people who think that ‘civilised’ Australian history starts in 1788, and use the day as an excuse to get pissed because that’s what ‘mateship’ is.
Can you beat someone to death with a copy of Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu? Purely theoretical question…
I find a lot of shame in not being able to participate in Invasion Day protests, but this being the third year, my personal alternative protest to dedicate Jan 26th to reading literature produced solely by First Nations. Traditionally in Jan, I’ll try to review a zine by an Indigenous author. I’ve been relying on current stockpiles and didn’t have any, however, I do have the latest issue of Archer Magazine.
It took a week to read, and it’s not really something you can do justice to by speedreading with a tinnie. I read it on trams on the way to health appointments, absorbed. It blocked out thoughts of whether or not I was entitled to sit on the disabled seats of the tram. It stopped me from being jostled around by white people and men of colour who often assume I need to move out of the way for them.
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No filter needed! Second #rapidfire at @hareshyenas for @midsummafestival and spoils! an early copy of @alisonwritesthings’ new book Euphoria Kids, and another talented babe @laniyuk on @archermagazine issue dedicated to First Nations, gush! (and copy of Victorian Writer which has the text to what I read tonight) * * * visual descriptor: magazine with a beautiful, defiant tan woman, next to a paperback with a spooky, whimsical cover, on top of a writing organisation mag on a blond, wood table.
The cover is really hard to ignore. Laniyuk, a poet and activist gloriously fills the cover, long hair draped down her back, and maybe wearing a hint of lip colour. The only things she wears are a shell necklace and shell earrings.
I’ll start with Laniyuk’s piece because I can’t read it objectively (I also read it greedily as soon as I got a copy of the mag). Crossing paths with her at the Queensland Poetry Festival in 2018 was one of many fantastic connections made during that festival.
It’s hard to read about someone who you consider a friend and have the extent of their trauma detailed for everyone else to read.
Australia does not have a great track record with Indigenous folks, and as someone who is a migrant, it’s becoming clearer to me that we are part of the invasion narrative that has and still does traumatise so many of this country’s first inhabitants.
Laniyuk was also one of the people who was there for me mid-last year in a period of acute distress. She was able to make time for me despite. She is one of the bravest, most fearless, and most talented people I’ve met. Her piece in this issue illustrates this to the letter (pun intended). She is of mixed heritage – her mother is French, and her father is a Larrakia, Kungarrakan and Gurindji man.
As a mixed-race migrant, I’m part of this invasion narrative, whether I like it or not. Both my parents come from or have heritage in places colonised by the British, and the Spanish. But me and my family are trespassers. I know my parents and brother would not think about this at all. I can’t make amends on their behalf. I can always try on my own though.
This doesn’t mean the magazine is trauma porn – quite the opposite: a lot of it details the creative practices of Australian Indigenous creatives, even when not in Australia. There’s photo editorials, Q&A interviews, a fashion shoot, showcases of visual art. There’s some upsetting narratives about navigating and acknowledging one’s queerness, and gender identity – this includes genderqueerness, wondering if you’re non-binary and/or trans, and transitioning if it’s a choice the narrator makes, and of finding chosen family as many queer folks do (thank goodness).
This is not much of a ‘review’ post, but I hope if you have the means, you’ll consider acquiring a copy of this issue, especially as Archer’s government arts funding was not granted this year.* If you happen to be in a financial position to support them staying in print, then donate to their Pozible campaign – read about what they do with the money they make & have and here.
I’m sorry this is a short and not-beery post…it didn’t seem appropriate to review beer. I’ve also been pretty sick the last fortnight (mind-sick) but this week it’s been actual ‘socially acceptable’ sick with some kind of chesty cough that had me spend two days in bed.
I drank and still am drinking lots and lots and lots of herbal tea, with honey to force out the illness, and have kept warm, layering like the consummate Melburnian inner-city savvy I am. It’s the only way I’m savvy!
Please try to remember, ‘Australia’ Day is not the only day where issues of sovereignty, dispossession, genocide, and intergeneration trauma are brought to the forefront for Indigenous Australian folks.
For some, it’s about surviving every fucking day in a system that punishes them for being themselves. I can only imagine how hard it is to celebrate culture and heritage in those circumstances. Change the fucking date. Read more Indigenous literature: if you can’t find any, you are simply not looking hard enough. Elevate Indigenous creatives! They’re probably more talented than you (look, that means me too so don’t be offended).
I also highly recommend supporting Indigenous X on Patreon. They are the only Patreon I support – if you know of other Indigenous folks creating content on Patreon, let me know so I can sign up to support them too?
For this reason, next up, I’ll be reviewing The Lifted Brow’s ‘Blak Brow‘ issue which I’m hoping to get to you soon, and will probably be drinking lots and lots of tea again.
Thanks again Patreons, I know I’ve had epic radio silence a while, due to circumstances outside my control x & cheers to my new supporter Felix for making this post possible! promise there’ll be beery content soon x