Listening and Learning – NAIDOC Week 2024

This year’s NAIDOC theme is ‘Keep the fire burning! Blak, loud and proud’. At Tait, we are on a lifelong journey of learning so we can better celebrate and recognise the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Some of this learning takes place through creative relationships, like our collaborative Woven Skies textile project with Willie Weston, or our pop up studio and exhibition with Numbulwar Numburindi Arts. Some learning happens as we listen to important stories told by Indigenous leaders and take part in cross-cultural events like the Rubbish on the Shore Think Tank that Gordon and Susan Tait were honoured to be part of earlier this year.

This NAIDOC Week, we reaffirm our commitment to listening and learning about the rich and beautiful cultures of First Nations people. Here are some of the books that have accompanied our own journeys so far:

Country: Future Fire, Future Farming

By Bill Gammage & Bruce Pascoe. Edited by Margo Neale

“A great read for anyone interested in the well-being and the future of our country, Country: Future Fire, Future Farming explores practices such as architecture and design, land management, botany, astronomy and law, bringing together two ways of understanding the natural world: one ancient, the other modern. Bill Gammage and Bruce Pascoe demonstrate how Aboriginal people cultivated the land through manipulation of water flows, vegetation and firestick practice, highlighting the consequences of ignoring this deep history and living in unsustainable ways.”

Gordon Tait, Founding Director

Songspirals: Sharing Women’s Wisdom of Country Through Songlines

By Gay’wu Group of Women

“This book was recommended to me when I visited the Yirrkala Art Centre on our recent trip to North East Arnhem land for the Rubbish on the Shore Think Tank. We were invited to attend and stay on beautiful Yolngu Country, where we were warmly welcomed with smoking ceremonies, bush walks, a visit to the art centre, and a very special campfire women’s circle. This was my first experience of being on country, and I really wanted to learn more about my generous hosts.”

Susan Tait, Creative Director

Somebody’s Land: Welcome To Our Country

By Adam Goodes & Ellie Laing. Illustrated by David Hardy

“A much-loved children’s book in our household with two kids under eight, Somebody’s Land is an accessible book for young kids, with a simple yet powerful message about Terra Nullius and First Nations culture before the arrival of English colonisers. The book is written by Adam Goodes, Australian of the Year, AFL legend, community leader and anti-racism advocate, along with political adviser and former journalist, Ellie Laing, and is beautifully illustrated by David Hardy.

This book repeats an important message that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are the traditional custodians of the land on which we live. A message my kids are very familiar with, having learnt this through the indigenous education and language program taught at their daycare. It makes me very hopeful for the next generation that they recognise the indigenous flag, more than the Australian flag, and that they understand the true history of our country.”

Nick Addlem, NSW / ACT Commercial State Manager

Songlines: The Power and Promise

By Margo Neale & Lynne Kelly

“Introduced to me at the Sorrento Writer’s Festival, Songlines: The Power and the Promise, provides an in-depth discussion of Songlines which form an incredible living repository of information and wisdom within Indigenous culture. This book presents so much information, with useful explanations and footnotes to expand on knowledge. There’s a really beautiful version for young readers too which I need to get my hands on, teaching them all about the Songlines of the land, sea and sky.”

Rachael Horan, Marketing Manager

If you’re looking for some more books to fire the learning journey, University of Queensland Press have published two First Nations Classics series (Series 1 in 2023 and Series 2 in 2024) to amplify Blak voices in the Australian literary canon. For a more intimate in-person experience, if you’re based in Melbourne, you can even hear some of the authors at this event at The Wheeler Centre.

Published 10 July 2024

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