Book Review

Matteo Dutto, Legacies of Indigenous Resistance: Pemulwuy, Jandamarra and Yagan in Australian Indigenous Film, Theatre and Literature, Oxford: Peter Lang, 2019, 241pages.

by Stephen Muecke

This book is a first of its kind. While there have been other books telling the individual stories of early Indigenous resistance leaders who fought against British invaders, such as Eric Willmot’s (1987) Pemulwuy: The Rainbow Warrior, and Pedersen and Woorunmurra’s (1995) Jandamarra and the Bunuba Resistance, this is the first book to explore such historical Aboriginal heroes within the scope of the nation. It also has a interdisciplinary and multi-media approach: interdisciplinary in the sense that it uses methods and theories from history, cultural studies and performance studies, and multi-media in that it takes into account the multimodal nature of Indigenous storytelling as well as its rapid adaptation to stage and screen. There is a compelling logic to the fact that Indigenous traditions, being themselves largely performative, should take advantage of more performative renderings of their history, and eschew their enclosure in texts of academic history, and perhaps miss the chance for political exposure. ………………