Publication Details

Jacklin, M, Consultation and critique: implementing cultural protocols in the reading of collaborative indigenous life writing, in Haebich, A, Peters-Little, F & Read, P (eds), Indigenous Biography and Autobiography, 1 edn, ANU E Press and Aboriginal History Incorporated, Canberra, 2008, p 135.


Anyone working towards the publication of indigenous life narratives is aware of the significance of cultural protocols to both the narrative exchange and the writing and editing process. In the telling and the writing of an indigenous life story, protocols determining what gets told – where, when, to whom, or for whom – influence and sometimes complicate decisions regarding the final published narrative. This is the case whether the subject of the life narrative is the writer or whether the narrative is mediated by others. Indigenous protocols – including authority and moral rights over indigenous narratives and culture, kinship rights and obligations, care for country, mourning protocols, restricted knowledge, and reciprocity in the form of a return of benefits to indigenous communities – will significantly shape the production of the text. Negotiating protocols is often challenging, sometimes fraught, but always, in some form, an aspect of the writing of indigenous lives.1