We Don’t Need A Map
A review of Warwick Thornton’s documentary for 4:3.
Indigenous history and the history of white Australia run on perpendicular lines, but the disconnect isn’t merely substantive. The indigenous Australian history Thornton explores — in Yirrkala, Katherine and Alice Springs — is united by form: oral storytelling. We hear of songlines that lasted a week and mapped out the land of neighbouring nations, beautifully impassioned odes to Djulpan (as the Southern Cross is known to the Yolngu people) and stories of Dreaming passed down from grandparent to grandchild. In contrast, the history of white Australia is one of co-option and carefully selective denial, a sputtering remembrance of past guided by the then-contemporary political climate.