Enchantment and disenchantment: Australian Indigenous cultural festivals and an ethics of uncertainty



Publication Details

Slater, L. 2010, 'Enchantment and disenchantment: Australian Indigenous cultural festivals and an ethics of uncertainty', in C. Yu. Lin & J. McSweeney (eds), Representation and Contestation: Cultural Politics in a Political Century, Editions Rodopi, Amsterdam, NLD. pp. 87


The socio-economic crisis in too many Indigenous Australian's lives is of pressing social and political concern.1 These concerns are widely shared: the causes and solutions less so. What is revealed is entrenched structural inequality. Certainly, the mainstream society has begun to acknowledge and address the injustices that were perpetrated against Indigenous people during colonialism. Complex and completing narratives and a multiplicity of voices and perspectives have unsettled Australia's colonial monologue. Many hoped that anti-colonial forms of co-existence would emerge and induce mutual transformation of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, law and culture, bettering the socio-economic conditions of Indigenous people and generating an anti-colonial Australia. Despite 'good' intentions, this has not happened. I question whether there ever has been an intention of mutual transformation? There remains little acknowledgment that a truly postcolonial Australia would require fundamental structural changes. The sovereignty of the white, liberal subject-citizen rests upon being the universal image of good moral health. In this chapter, I examine Indigenous cultural festivals, specifically the Dreaming Festival, in Queensland, as sites in which Indigenous people are knowingly disrupting the disenchanted knowledge that circulates about contemporary Indigeneity by creating intercultural spaces that seek to emolliate the affects of neo-colonialism.

Link to publisher version (URL)


Please refer to publisher version or contact your library.