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  • Published 20040601
  • ISBN: 9780733314339
  • Extent: 268 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm)

THINK OF ABORIGINAL bodies. Think of Cathy Freeman, standing and waiting on the track in Sydney, lean, still, and nothing in her face except what’s needed to be The Best. Think Kyle Vander-Kuyp. Nova Perris. Evonne Goolagong-Cawley. Patrick Johnson. Think speed, and grace, and Anthony Mundine with his immaculately tattooed left pec, somersaulting post-try in a red-and-white St George rugby league jersey.

These are the Aboriginal bodies we love to love. With 200 years of togetherness to look back on, parallels between indigenous and settler Australia are now easy. Here’s another one – like most of you, we make the news only when we are very beautiful, very talented, or very angry. But beyond the world of the athletes lies realityville, where Aboriginal bodies come in all shapes and sizes, all colours and speeds, and various good-to-headline-inducingly-poor states of mental and physical health. The very same communities that produced Cathy and Evonne and Kyle (and Kim Scott and Ernie Dingo and Aden Ridgeway) are the same ones where snotty nine-year-olds sniff paint fumes from Coke bottles; where dope-psychotic young men find no good reason not to batter their families for the umpteenth time this month; where for many, jail is a saner option than home. What’s going on?

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