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Life as an Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Male Prisoner: Poems of Grief, Trauma, Hope, and Resistance

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 December 2020

Elena Marchetti
Affiliation:
Griffith Law School, Griffith University e.marchetti@griffith.edu.au
Debbie Bargallie
Affiliation:
Kamilaroi and Wonnarua descendent Post-doctoral Senior Research Fellow, Griffith Institute for Educational Research, Griffith University d.bargallie@griffith.edu.au

Abstract

For Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, writing is predominantly about articulating their cultural belonging and identity. Published creative writing, which is a relatively new art form among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners, has not been used as an outlet to the same extent as other forms of art. This is, however, changing as more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rappers and story-writers emerge, and as creative writing is used as a way to express Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander empowerment and resistance against discriminatory and oppressive government policies. This article explores the use of poetry and stories written by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander male prisoners in a correctional facility located in southern New South Wales, Australia, to understand how justice is perceived by people who are (and have been) surrounded by hardships, discrimination, racism, and grief over the loss of their culture, families, and freedom.

Résumé

Résumé

Pour les aborigènes d’Australie et les insulaires du détroit de Torres, l’écriture consiste principalement à exprimer, et à articuler, leur appartenance culturelle et leur identité. La publication d’une écriture créatrice, qui est une forme d’art relativement nouvelle parmi les prisonniers aborigènes et insulaires du détroit de Torres, n’a pas été utilisée comme un exutoire au même titre que d’autres formes d’art. Cependant, la situation est en train de changer avec l’émergence de rappeurs et d’écrivains aborigènes et des insulaires du détroit de Torres, et l’utilisation de l’écriture créative comme moyen d’exprimer leur autonomisation et leur résistance aux politiques gouvernementales discriminatoires et oppressives. Cet article explore l’utilisation de la poésie et des histoires écrites par des prisonniers de sexe masculin aborigènes et insulaires du détroit de Torres dans un établissement correctionnel situé dans le sud de la Nouvelle-Galles-du-Sud, en Australie. Une exploration qui vise à comprendre comment la justice est perçue par des personnes qui sont (et ont été) entourées de difficultés, de discrimination, de racisme et de chagrin à la suite de la perte de leur culture, de leur famille et de leur liberté.

Type
Articles
Copyright
© Canadian Journal of Law and Society / Revue Canadienne Droit et Société, 2020

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