[ mediums for activism ]



There are many books out today with the hope that the passion of their words and stories will be felt, and change will flow from this textural experience. There is a phenomenal array of exciting books available today that tell powerful stories, share life-changing information and communicate in a way that can fully engage us. Many books have the potential to create change in a person's life without the author even knowing it.

A few examples I would like to make note of are two books that have been put together in hope of raising cultural consciousness, indigenous land rights and cultural change.

Talking Straight Out: Stories from the Irati Wanti Campaign. 2005.

This is a powerful illustrated story about Kungka women of South Australia who fought for 6 years to protect their Country against a proposed radioactive dump. Their story reveals the types of values they were up against, their diverse methods of protest as well as people that came to support them along the way. The Kungka women and supporters were successful in their campaign and their book shares their journey in a deep, moving, honest, transformational manner. It acts as a powerful symbol in creating positive changes.

Zohl De Ishtar

Zohl De Ishtar presents an insightful examination of competing and conflicting interests that make Indigenous and White interactions complex, traumatic and laden with issues. I make reference to her for she is of profound assistance in understanding my personal experiences, learning, bodily knowing and struggles.

As a reader, I have also felt that I have been able to relate to many aspects of her stories, struggles, learning, bodily knowing and absorb new teachings. In particular, I have had major revelations as I see cultural aspects of myself that I have not seen before. For example, Zohl explores the inter-cultural relationship of White and Indigenous societies and in doing so highlights the pressures white culture exerts on Indigenous Women and their Law. In revisiting my own experiences, I can see many examples where I have directly and indirectly wielded white cultural principles upon Indigenous peoples. This book has been a powerful tool for positive change as a result of Ishtar's ability to share her story, experiences and personal knowledges as a result of her contact with the Kapululangu Elders.

Pelias: Writing Performance

Pelias' book Writing Performance: Poeticizing the Researcher's Body (1999) truly reflects the power that words can hold as well as their limitations. I think Pelias demonstrates a superb ability to turn the action of writing into a form of performance. He poetically evokes the bodily, emotional, mental, spiritual aspects of writing in his authentic explorations of his experiences in life and theatre. His work provides a great example of performative writing, or textural activism, whereby the action of writing is his performance to us as the audience. Most importantly, he describes performance as a "way of knowing" (Pelias, 1999: ix). In other words, to write in a way that allows you to feel the presence of something beyond the words.