Swallowed words: bringing up an Aboriginal past in the city

Kristina L. Everett

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Many Aboriginal stories have not been allowed to be told historically due to the over-whelming dominance of non-Aboriginal stories. Many Aboriginal stories were once outlawed and so were forgotten, some only partially remembered, many now only told in the language of the invaders. There are other Aboriginal stories, however, especially those of particular urban Aboriginal peoples, which have lain ‘dormant’, protected by subversive family histories and embedded in objects claimed as the possessions of the Aboriginal people concerned. Some of these once ‘swallowed’ stories are now being regurgitated, re-emerging into a world that does not always recognise them as true. I am a non-Indigenous woman anthropologist and in this paper I recount some different versions of a story ‘told’ in different ways; through the signs and symbols of the Australian nation state, the movements of my Aboriginal research collaborators through what is claimed as their Country, through verbal storytelling, and through artefacts and paintings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-118
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2011 the Author(s). Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • urban Aboriginal art production
  • storytelling
  • Parramatta


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