Woven Histories, Dancing Lives is a collection of essays that communicates the unique histories and cultures of Torres Strait Islanders to a broad audience. Not only have Islanders absorbed the cultural influences from two surrounding landmasses (Australia and Papua New Guinea), and negotiated the development of two nations in the region, their lives have been transformed by 150 years of immigration and new economic and political conditions. In this collection readers will discover the remarkable cultural diversity that has emerged.
The contributors offer new reflections on inter-ethnic relationships, identity concerns, gender relations and political struggles of Islanders. As a scholarly resource, this collection is empirically rich and theoretically innovative. As a creative endeavour, it embraces Islander and non-Islander visions of society and history. As a critical challenge, it contains insights on fundamental issues regarding the place of Indigenous people in an Australia still uncertain of its relationship to, and recognition of, its Indigenous people.
‘…these essays, covering a range of topics and emanating from a variety of disciplinary traditions, fit together nicely to make an interesting, accessible and well-woven whole, that has a lot of useful things to say about Torres Strait…The collection is a valuable addition to our understanding of the issues that are shaping contemporary Torres Strait society.’
—The Australian Journal of Anthropology, 2005
Preface and acknowledgements
Map of the Torres Strait region and communities
Part 1: Introductions
Writing about Islanders: recent research and future directions
Torres Strait: the region and its people
David Lawrence and Helen Reeves Lawrence
Evidence of cultural custodianship