Benang: this most local of histories: annexing colonial records into a world without end
This article examines Kim Scott’s novel Benang as a counter-history and an ethics of speech, which participates in a regeneration of Nyoongar cultural knowledge. Scott appropriates colonial records into his textual topography to expose the ideology behind their neat genocidal script. However, he suggests that although the fight against oppression is paramount, to strengthen Nyoongar culture one must not only attend to the pain of history, but also nourish that which has revitalized, and continues to revitalize, one’s community. Scott’s textual strategy reveals that his counter-history is not dictated by Western logic. Rather he gains his authority from a (continuing) world that is beyond colonial reason. Scott has composed Benang both to question the adequacy of the novel, and the English language, to represent Indigeneity, and to propose a style of writing that generates new speaking positions for Indigenous people.
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