Ann McGrath, Australian National University; Jackie Huggins, self-employed;
This open panel encourages a global conversation about the politics of Indigenous history-making. We invite papers that explore Indigenous modes of historical practice, including reflections upon distinctive temporalities, relationships to Country, and ancestors. Academic and popular histories have been framed by imperial and colonizer chronologies of 'discovery', undermining the possibility of Indigenous people even having 'history' prior to invasions. First Nations people obviously were not 'historyless'; they did not occupy a timeless, primitivist zone that lacked dynamism and inventiveness. Rather, they confronted dramatic climate change issues. However, Indigenous temporalities often eschew linearity, offering expansive possibilities for history, underpinned by sustainable values that link all things, animate and inanimate in their worlds. Today, Indigenous history tellings play an important role in asserting sovereign rights in now-colonized spaces. By remapping place - including sea, sky and land - digital history sites offer the potential to share First Nations knowledges of environmental custodianship.
Jackie Huggins is a Bidjara and Birri Gubba Juru woman and a leading historian who has been active in political struggles for a Treaty and a Voice to the Australian Parliament. Ann McGrath is a non-Indigenous historian who has pushed for recognition of Indigenous deep histories that escape colonizer chronologies. Ann and Jackie recently collaborated on the Marking Country project which presents various co-curated First Nations histories, including of the Bidjara people of the Carnarvon Gorge. It showcases enduring practices such as rock art and epic storytelling, including song and dance cycles.