Confronting Colonisation: Contemporary Canadian and Australian Picture Books About Indigenous Peoples
thesisposted on 2021-05-24, 18:07 authored by Katrina de Liberato
This paper will examine how Canadian and Australian picture books about Indigenous peoples have evolved over the past three decades into texts that imagine the survival of Indigenous languages and land despite colonisation. Drawing on a sample of six contemporary picture books about Indigenous peoples in present-day Canada and Australia, I will explore how these works challenge representations of Indigenous peoples as the Other through complimentary textual and visual techniques that instead Other colonists (Nodelman 29). By positioning European colonisers as foreign invaders who fail in their attempts to erase rather than understand vibrant Indigenous cultures, these texts enable Indigenous communities to symbolically reclaim the land, family, language, and identity taken by colonial forces. Contemporary Canadian and Australian picture books about the European colonisation of Indigenous peoples assert the value of Indigeneity by mobilising a juxtaposition of Indigenous versus non-Indigenous through contrasting shapes and colours that enhance textual differences between colonised and coloniser. While Canadian texts highlight the healing capabilities of Indigenous languages, Australian texts emphasise how symbiotic relationships with the land empower Indigenous peoples, reflecting geographical variations between Indigenous histories in each country that ultimately encourage diverse representations of Indigeneity.