McKenna, Mark: Blackfellas’ point

McKenna, Mark

Looking for Blackfellas’ Point: An Australian History of Place, University of New South Wales Press, Sydney, 2002

‘A history for every Australian who is interested in the story of settler-Australia’s relations with Indigenous people—what happened between us, how we learnt to forget and, finally, how we came to confront the truth about our past and build a movement for reconciliation.’ (blurb) According to one later observer, ‘McKenna presents his history as European history told from a settler perpective, and explores the way European history of the settlement of Australia has aspects of denial and unresolved issues that handicap Australia’s cultural and political development through to the present day’.

A review is here. The author discusses the book here, including how it was received by people he describes as ‘denialists’ of parts of our history and what this says about white Australians’ tendency to forget parts of our history relating to Indigenous people. ‘When journalists interview me about Looking for Blackfellas’ Point’, the author says in this article,

I am usually confronted with a standard leading question: “Mark, do you see your book belonging to the black armband camp or the white blindfold camp?” I now have a standard reply. It is in neither camp, and the more that the media continue to accept uncritically this absurd binary division, itself a creation of the current crop of conservative pundits that have dominated Australian public debate in the last decade, the more impoverished our sense of history will become.

McKenna brought out a new edition of the book in 2014 and an edited version of the epilogue is here.

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