Finding Eliza: Power and Colonial Storytelling in the Eliza Fraser Folklore
Arts Monday’s Jane Raffan chats with Larissa Behrendt, lawyer, and professor of Indigenous Research at the University of Technology Sydney, and author of a new critique of the Eliza Fraser story: Finding Eliza: Power & Colonial Storytelling.
Larissa Behrendt’s book is a reference-rich deconstruction of the tropes in the Eliza Fraser ‘captivity narrative’ that have been used as foundational truths in colonial societies around the world, and which have had lasting deleterious effects on our Indigenous people.
Fraser’s story involves shipwreck and survival in the company of the Butchulla people of what is now known as Fraser Island, Queensland. She went on to tell her story – with embellishments – for many years after her so-called rescue from “cannibals”, and the story has influenced Australian writers, painters and filmmakers for generations.
The interviews explore the Eliza Fraser folklore, and the role stereotypes play in cementing certain narratives and prejudices in national histories and broader culture.
More about the book here: Queensland University Press