Dialog Box

History | Human Rights | Indigenous | Social Justice
Occupation: Native


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In this country, the Aboriginal story is often buried deep beneath the accepted 228-year Australian historical narrative. It’s not that the Australian story is wrong, it’s just that it’s a wee bit one-sided. Getting all historical, Aboriginal filmmaker Trisha Morton-Thomas bites back at Australian history.
Bite-sized stories from first settlement to federation, from the expansion of Australia across the states to today, give a fresh look at the involvement of Aboriginal people in our country’s history. Comedy including skits and cartoons are balanced with serious moments of reflection and poignancy, creating an eclectic blend of Australian history that will appeal to all palates.

How does the project meet the aims of a philanthropic foundation?

Occupation: Native aims to engage all Australians in a national conversation about Australian history and what has been missing from our history books. Aboriginal people have largely been left out of our history and it is vital that we start to embrace our First Nations people in the national account of how our country was founded and developed.

This project meets the aim of any philanthropic foundation who wants to support a project that has the potential to inspire positive change for Indigenous people. Being ignored from our national history has led to confusion and misunderstanding for non-Indigenous Australians who can’t see the debate from the Aboriginal point of view. Our documentary gives all Australians the chance to change the way they think about our history, including recognising the importance of Aboriginal people in the development of our country.
Aims & Objectives

What outcomes do you hope to achieve by making this film and how will you measure its impact?

The film will air on NITV and SBS in the second half of 2017 and we aim to achieve a significant audience and positive social media engagement on the issues raised in the film.

We hope to change the way that non-Indigenous people think about Australia’s history. We hope that they will obtain a new understanding of Australian history, from an Aboriginal point-of-view and to recognise that our past is larger and more complicated than we all learned in school.

We hope to inspire pride in Indigenous Australians regarding the struggle and survival of their people, from settlement to federation to today. We hope that Aboriginal adults and children will learn of their ancestors’ fight for inclusion and the important role that they have played over the past 228 years.

Using comedy as a vehicle for change allows us to reach audiences that will often turn off when confronted with serious Aboriginal stories. We are not asking audiences to feel guilty or to reverse the damage done to Aboriginal people. We are simply asking them to understand, and to recognise our history from the other side.

We hope to show that our history books do need to be rewritten, and we are hoping that our film will have a vast outreach into schools, in which we aim to reach children in the older years of primary schools and early years of high school.

What is your education and outreach strategy?

We have engaged impact producer Teri Calder to work with us to develop a comprehensive impact, education and outreach strategy to roll out from the broadcast in the second half of the year and beyond.
Trisha Morton-Thomas
Rachel Clements, Meredith Garlick, Trisha Morton-Thomas
Total budget
52 Minutes