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Talking Sideways
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Reg Dodd Malcolm McKinnon
Talking Sideways by Reg Dodd at Abbey's Bookshop,

Talking Sideways

Reg Dodd Malcolm McKinnon


Queensland Univ. Press

Society & culture: general;
Indigenous peoples


304 pages

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'That's the way it is with us mob. We were brought up to talk kind of sideways. That's the respectful, true Aboriginal way.' Reg Dodd grew up at Finniss Springs, on striking desert country bordering South Australia's Lake Eyre. For the Arabunna and for many other Aboriginal people, Finniss Springs has been a homeland and a refuge. It has also been a cattle station, an Aboriginal mission, a battlefield, a place of learning and a living museum.

With his long-time friend and filmmaker Malcolm McKinnon, Dodd reflects on his upbringing in a cross-cultural environment that defied social conventions of the time. They also write candidly about the tensions surrounding power, authority and Indigenous knowledge that have defined the recent decades of this resource-rich area.

Talking Sideways is part history, part memoir and part cultural road-map. Together, Dodd and McKinnon reveal the unique history of this extraordinary place and share their concerns and their hopes for its future.

By:   Reg Dodd, Malcolm McKinnon
Imprint:   Queensland Univ. Press
Country of Publication:   Australia
Dimensions:   Height: 225mm,  Width: 153mm,  Spine: 24mm
Weight:   396g
ISBN:   9780702260407
ISBN 10:   0702260401
Pages:   304
Publication Date:   March 2019
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Reg Dodd, an Arabunna elder born at Finniss Springs, is a natural storyteller. At various stages of his life he?s been a stockman, a train inspector, a heritage officer, a photographer, a singer and a tour guide. Malcolm McKinnon is an artist, curator, writer and filmmaker who has worked with Reg Dodd on a series of projects spanning almost thirty years. He shares a deep attachment to country around Finniss Springs.

The story of Finniss Springs reads like a fable. An inter-racial utopian dream set in the Australian desert unravels when the patriarch dies, families turn on each other, mining companies and lawyers circle like predators. There is manipulation and venality and violence, decency and courage and resilience. It's telling is a testament to the long friendship between the authors, and a revelation of the complexities and hazards of the Aboriginal preference for 'talking sideways'. Talking Sideways is a unique, enthralling and important contribution to the growing literature of place in Australia. Kim Mahood, author of Position Doubtful Talking Sideways is not just a great yarn. Rather it's hundreds of sly little yarns all braiding into a big net that catches and carries a staggering bulk of knowledge about old, deep Australia. And about friendship. More than just a book, it's a new kind of literature, a big, battered vehicle that has been hot-rodded by two crafty sidekicks - one indigenous, one interloper - venturing into a world of wanting, wishing and remembering that they have resolved to encompass together. Ross Gibson, Centenary Professor of Creative & Cultural Research at the University of Canberra A lesson in strategy, acceptance and perseverance, and a significant story for Aboriginal people negotiating the many challenges we inherit. Jared Thomas, William and Margaret Geary Curator, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art and Culture, South Australian Museum

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