by Peter Munro
Rachel Perkins. Image: Leon Mead
Indigenous filmmaker Rachel Perkins to give 2019 ABC Boyer Lectures
Leading Indigenous filmmaker Rachel Perkins will examine how the Uluru Statement from the Heart provides a path to ending the “great Australian silence” on the rightful place of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in this nation, in this year’s ABC Boyer Lectures.
Perkins’ “The End of Silence” lectures, to be broadcast on ABC RN from Saturday 16 November at 1pm, will make the case for the Uluru Statement’s call for a First Nations Voice to parliament and a process of agreement-making and truth-telling, to enable deeper understanding of this nation’s past and a path towards reconciliation.
“In his 1968 Boyer Lectures, pre-eminent anthropologist Professor WEH Stanner described what he called ‘the great Australian silence’. Our generation is ready to end what Stanner described as the national cult of forgetfulness about Indigenous peoples and our past,” Perkins said.
“Fifty years later, on the eve of the 250th anniversary of Cook’s landing, the Uluru Statement provides a pathway to reset modern Australia’s relationship with the First Australians and arrive at a fuller expression of Australia’s nationhood.”
Perkins, the daughter of Aboriginal activist Charles Perkins and his European wife Eileen, is renowned for weaving together the threads of Australia’s layered identities in her work as an award-winning filmmaker, including ABC TV’s Mystery Road and new drama series Total Control, which premieres on ABC TV on Sunday 13 October at 8.30pm, and films such as Bran Nue Dae and Jasper Jones.
ABC Chair Ita Buttrose said: “Rachel Perkins’ remarkable contribution to Australian storytelling gives her unique insights into the complex and controversial debate over the Uluru Statement from the Heart. Hearing one of our most powerful Indigenous voices make the case for constitutional recognition exemplifies the role of the Boyer Lectures in stimulating discussion and debate about major issues in Australia.”
Perkins’ lectures, which mark the 61st year of the Boyer Lectures, will explore the three core components of the Uluru Statement from the Heart:
The place of Indigenous peoples in Australia’s founding document and the proposal for their voices to be heard;
The absence of a treaty with Indigenous peoples when Australia was founded and the proposal for agreement-making with governments today; and
Truth-telling to address Professor Stanner’s “great Australian silence”.
The Boyer Lectures, which began in 1959, are given each year by a prominent Australian about major social, cultural, scientific or political issues. Prime Ministers, Governors-General, High Court judges, archbishops, artists, poets, scientists and business leaders are among those who have shared their ideas and concerns over the past six decades.
The three 2019 Boyer Lectures will be broadcast on ABC RN from Saturday 16 November and available on podcast via the ABC listen app. The first lecture will also be broadcast on ABC TV on 15 November at 1.30pm.
Join the debate: #BoyerLectures or abc.net.au/boyerlectures
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