Heidi's Reviews > Us Mob

Us Mob by Mudrooroo
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Aug 27, 09

bookshelves: 50books-poc-rnd1, by-nwp, history-australian, non-fiction, politics-australian, 101-indigenous-australia, want-to-own, from-library-hclc, by-atsi
Recommended to Heidi by: Chris Budden (indirectly)
Read in August, 2009

This is going on my "want to own" and "Indigenous Australia 101" lists. It does exactly what it says on the cover: provide an introduction to a whole lot of issues relating to Indigenous Australians. It's organised by general topic area, with chapters on health, spirituality, language, education, politics, land rights... It's immediately post-Mabo, so it's about fifteen years old at this point. The concluding chapter looks forward so specifically to 2000 as hopefully being the year of Australia becoming a republic that it hurts. (In fact, when this was published, Howard wasn't in government yet: ain't *that* a sobering thought. Things were about to get a whole lot worse...)

Mudrooroo seems to have found a reasonable balance between a "tone" that can reach white readers (rather than hack them off) and not betraying his princples. He certainly comes across very firm and strong in his opinions.

Haven't finished reading this yet (although I might tonight, as I'm very close to the end and Vulture's Gate is *not* the sort of book to reaad before bed) but I wanted to start noting Highlights:

* The author quoting Uncle Eddie in the chapter on Spirituality. Which I feel was a greater moment even than seeing Djiniyini Gondarra being quoted and referenced in the same chapter. Uncle Eddie was a work colleague and friend of my father's, and was the person who taught me about the Dudaroa and Jitmaithang and Pangerang, and whose word on the extent (or otherwise) of Yorta Yorta land I'm still going to take over anyone else - except maybe Vince.)

* The way Mudrooroo presents each of the "lectures". Very firm, and yet fully aware of just how deeply the suppositions he's challenging really run.

* The media chapter - outdated (it's 15 years old now) but really important. It is very odd, though, for Burnum Burnum to be lauded as the archetype of an indigenous actor, when I'd now think it might be David Gulpilil or Aaron Pederson or Deb Mailman.

Lowlight:
* That he recognises that it is in fact "us mobs" when speaking of indigenous people, but refers to non-indigenous Austalia as a generic "you mob". Non-indigenous Australia is at least equally diverse and on the rare occasion that he uses the phrase You Mob it grates. (Usually he uses "the Master", which when it's not giving me inappropriate Doctor Who thoughts, is a fairly good choice. It allows for some distancing on behalf of the reader, which is important if he wants to make any headway at all with some people.) I think it specifically grates because there are a lot of other-than-white people with their own problems with the Master (so to speak) that he's lumping all together with the whitefellas.

Fabulous book, well worth time and effort.
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Reading Progress

06/30/2009 page 1
08/24/2009 page 205 "I despair for us whitefellas, I really do. We just so don't get it."
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