Anyone reading the “Little Red Yellow Black Book” (LRYBB) should expect to have their perspectives and understanding changed. It will surprise you, in all the right ways… Who knew I could gain so much, from a humble 140 pages? I consider myself pretty aware of issues within history and day to day events, but I was amazed at how many facts and perspectives in LRYBB were new to me. And stories of people I hadn’t previously heard about, and should have… I personally believe that too many people in Australia (and around the world) unfortunately don’t know enough about Indigenous Australia, but for those who are interested in learning more, this is essential reading.
The LRYBB doesn’t cover everything, not that any book could ever hope to cover everything that makes up the sum total of Indigenous Australia, but it is an impressive summary and an important stepping stone to learning more. It is a summary of many of the fundamental elements that paint the picture of what Indigenous Australia looks like today. Spread into four chapters, the book explores the history, achievements, and future aspirations of Indigenous peoples, in both a community and individual sense. Each chapter is divided into paragraph “bite-sized” sections, as a way of summarising the theme and giving readers a taste in an extremely easy-to-read nature. The style in which this book is written, is easily digestible, which is why I would encourage everyone educators, students and your average Joes, to utilise this book as a resource. Unlike those intimidating history books, and stale documentaries from the 80’s, the Little Red Yellow Black Book is an enjoyable experience – and isn’t there to trick you, (or be hard to understand.) It’s updated, so the information and facts are highly relevant within today’s issues, and successes. It’s bright and colourful, reflecting the vibrancy of our people; All the while still giving a very interesting insight into the past, present and future of Indigenous Australians.
I believe this book is an important read for everyone; Indigenous, non-Indigenous, adults and children. It celebrates our people, whilst also shining a light over the issues, stereotypes and statistics still challenging our people today. It also comments on skewed perceptions and prejudices, which are still sadly often encouraged by popular media; “Some public figures and social commentators continue to show little or no understanding of Indigenous Australian’s identity or needs…” It also explores and celebrates how we, as Australians, should define Aboriginality. Or perhaps, how not to define it. “Defining Indigenous people by location descent or appearance does not reflect the complexity of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander experience and identity… It does not acknowledge who people really are.” This really resonates with me, as I have felt the effects of not fitting the mould of what “a true Indigenous Australian ‘is’…” As do many other Indigenous people, cutting a mould of who we are (or what we should be) in relation to what we connect with, in our culture, is something that should never be “defined “especially by media, and outsiders alike.
Whether you are interested in history, politics, culture or anything in between. This book will give you an insight into our very rich, very diverse and very beautiful cultures still thriving today. The face of Indigenous Australia isn’t one face; but it is a face made of many different interests, talents and achievements. It’s shining light on people who need light shining on. Whether through artistic expression, physical performance or political activism and leadership, the “Little Red, Yellow and Black Book” celebrates Indigenous history and excellence from every corner of Australia. Which I believe, is a concept long overdue.
At this time of year, with Invasion Day having just passed us, and the anniversary of the Apology to the Stolen Generations just around the corner, it is all too easy to think it’s too hard to ever learn enough, and to have a reasoned understanding of it all. Resources like the LRYBB are an excellent way to open your mind to understanding and find pathways to learn more. There is so much covered in this book that will be almost impossible not to have your interests piqued and want to set off to learn more…
NB: The Little Red Yellow Black book can be purchased via Aboriginal Studies Press, and a 10% discount is available on all online resources by entering IndigenousX as your coupon code.
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