Living on Stolen Land is a prose-styled look at our colonial-settler 'present'. This book is the first of its kind to address and educate a broad audience about the colonial contextual history of Australia, in a highly original way. It pulls apart the myths at the heart of our nationhood, and challenges Australia to come to terms with its own past and its place within and on 'Indigenous Countries'.
This title speaks to many First Nations' truths; stolen lands, sovereignties, time, decolonisation, First Nations perspectives, systemic bias and other constructs that inform our present discussions and ever-expanding understanding. This title is a timely, thought-provoking and accessible read.
About the author:
Ambelin Kwaymullina belongs to the Palyku people of the eastern Pilbara region of Western Australia. She is a writer, illustrator and law academic who works across a range of genres including YA, science fiction, verse and non-fiction.
Living on Stolen Land
Author: Ambelin Kwaymullina
Question: Why did you write Living on Stolen Land?
Ambelin Kwaymullina : The first section of the book ends with these words: You are living on stolen land/what can you do about it?
I wrote the book for all non-Indigenous people who are asking that question. It is my thoughts on some things that people need to know, and some practical things they can do to form respectful relationships with Indigenous peoples and Countries.
Question: What's the main message you hope readers take from Living on Stolen Land?
Ambelin Kwaymullina : Not so much a message, but I hope that people find it helpful. I think a lot of people in Australia are committed to a changed Australia where Indigenous peoples are respected and valued. But for most of the past two hundred plus years, the dominant context that has shaped attitudes and laws has been based in a denigration of Indigenous peoples and life-ways. As I say in Stolen Land, this context has become normalised and naturalised, so there is a lot of work to do to challenge it wherever it manifests at both structural and individual levels. I hope my book helps people to make a start, or to continue on their journeys, towards a decolonised Australia.
Question: What research did you do, prior to writing Living on Stolen Land?
Ambelin Kwaymullina : This book is the result of more than a decades worth of thinking and researching, and of my own lived experience as a Palyku woman.
Question: What book are you reading, right now?
Ambelin Kwaymullina : I'm reading the voices of two amazing Aboriginal women: Throat, by Ellen van Neervan and Blakwork, by Allison Whittaker. Throat is newly released and I've already read it several times, and Blakwork (which was published in 2018) is a book I go back to again and again. I never get tired of reading Ellen and Alison, their words are so powerful and inspiring to me.
Question: What's next, for you?
Ambelin Kwaymullina : I'm working on a novel about the oppression of Indigenous women and intersectional feminism.
Interview by Gwen van Montfort