Empowering First Nations Kids Through Culture and Storytelling: The Role of Magabala Books

Empowering First Nations Kids Through Culture and Storytelling: The Role of Magabala Books

Lilly Brown, the chief executive of Magabala Books, Australia’s leading Indigenous publishing house, emphasizes the importance of empowering First Nations children through positive representation and storytelling. With over 40 years of commitment to amplifying Indigenous voices, Magabala Books continues to be a beacon for cultural preservation and literary excellence. Empowering First Nations Kids Through Culture and Storytelling: The Role of Magabala Books

“Even today, many representations of First Nations people in literature can be negative,” says Brown, a Gumbaynggirr woman. “It’s important to have those positive stories reflected back to our kids to support their identity growth and who they are, especially post-Voice Referendum.”

Magabala Books was born out of a gathering of over 500 Aboriginal Elders in the Kimberley region four decades ago. Its mission was clear: to keep First Nations culture strong and protect the intellectual property and culture of Indigenous people. Since then, the Broome-based publisher has produced more than 250 titles by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander authors, artists, and illustrators, including renowned names like Alexis Wright, Ali Cobby-Eckermann, and Alison Whittaker.

According to Brown, Magabala Books has always been a safe space for Indigenous stories and voices. “It’s imperative that Indigenous people control their own stories and that the benefits flow back to the right people,” she says.

The recent nomination of Magabala Books for Small Publisher of the Year at the Australian Book Industry Awards is a testament to its commitment to amplifying diverse voices. Brown sees this nomination as an opportunity to celebrate the talent and diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices while also raising awareness about the importance of Indigenous literature.

“A lot of people feel they don’t know much about First Nations stories, so for them to have access to First Nations stories and for those stories to be told in voice is imperative,” Brown explains.

She believes that First Nations literature not only benefits Indigenous communities but also serves as a tool for educating non-Indigenous people about Aboriginal cultures, history, and experiences. “There are a lot of non-Aboriginal people out there that want to know our stories, especially post the Voice Referendum,” she says.

With the growing interest in Indigenous literature, Brown sees a positive shift in the publishing landscape. “A lot of commercial and mainstream publishing houses are now publishing First Nations authors,” she notes. “It’s positive because it’s a reflection of non-Aboriginal people wanting to engage with our stories.”

Through its dedication to amplifying Indigenous voices and promoting cultural understanding, Magabala Books continues to play a vital role in shaping the narrative of Australia’s literary landscape.

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Source: https://nit.com.au/30-04-2024/10968/first-nations-publishing-house-says-nows-the-time-to-empower-indigenous-kids-with-culture-and-storytelling

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