Commissioned for the Perth Festival, this is the spirited story of the Millimurra family's stand against government 'protection' policies in s Australia. First performed in , the play is part of Jack Davis's The First Born trilogy which No Sugar explores the harsh treatment of the Western Australian aboriginal. No Sugar by Jack Davis indigenous West Australian playwright ; life for the indigenous peoples in West Australia in is a struggle for.
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Davis, Jack, No sugar. ISBN 0 9. . Aborigines, Australian - Drama. 1. Title. A Typesct Love Computer Typesetting - Lane Cove 2 In Jack Davis' No Sugar, which is set between and , Aboriginal .. in Contemporary Australian Society and Culture, PDF version available. Story of Nyungar family sent to Moore River Native Settlement from Northam in ; police as protectors, ration system; daily life, diet, education, administration, punishment at Settlement. Translations of SongsNotes and Glossary of Aboriginal Terms; Background Reading.
Ashcroft, Griffith and Tiffin note that: All rights reserved. While the Millimurra and Munday families can often be dysfunctional, and are certainly living under harsh conditions, throughout the entirety of No Sugar , an effort to maintain a strong sense of family is displayed by all characters. He takes this as a personal challenge to his power. The blacker your skin was, the worse individual you were. Their social welfare benefits are considerably less than that of their white counterparts.
The era that No Sugar is set in is recognised as the Assimilation period for Aboriginals, where white Australians forced Aboriginals to conform to Western society in the hopes of suppressing their culture.
During this time many half-castes were born, as attempts were made to breed out Aboriginality in Australia.
Assimilation is a major theme within the play, and it is clearly evident throughout various points. Chief Protector of Aborigines, A. Neville, explains it best in his speech on Australia Day: According to Neville, the ultimate goal of the government in regards to the Aboriginals was not to accept their culture, but to diminish it and turn them into Western-thinking people who lived as white Australians did.
Proctectionism is another prevalent theme in No Sugar, that is most clearly seen in the actions of white people in charge of Aboriginals. A distinct condescension is applied by white officials in their treatment of the Indigenous population, in an effort to "protect the natives from themselves. While protectionism is worthy in name, its application in early 20th century Australia caused more harm than good for the Aboriginals, as it ultimately and completely restricted their freedom.
While the Millimurra and Munday families can often be dysfunctional, and are certainly living under harsh conditions, throughout the entirety of No Sugar , an effort to maintain a strong sense of family is displayed by all characters. Even when separated, as Jimmy went to jail, or Joe and Mary left their home for safety, the relationships between the family remain strong, and when reunited, it is as if no time has passed between them.
Although the families are poor and eating only bread and fat for dinner, they still give each other everything that they have, and this is displayed in the last scene of the play. When Joe, Mary, and their newborn baby leave the Moore River Settlement in search for a better life and a safer environment, the poverty-stricken family manage to scrape enough to gift the new family on their journey.
Damage to government property, to whit, one shit bucket. Add to the charge sheet.
Thus the burden of 'injury' is added to with the burden of silence, and with the burden of not being able to contest the injustice. In fact at court, Jimmy has no chance of winning the case within a law system that is set up by the white settlers to serve their interests, and when he attempts to defend himself he is told to keep quiet: Silence in the court.
What I said was that -' Davis p. Jimmy is on the inside expressing the rage of incarceration and the sergeant is on the outside bothered by Jimmy's 'scene'. Sam's reaction is to stay quiet and urges Jimmy to do the same - 'SAM: Eh, Gnoolya, dubakieny. Jimmy begins to sing Al Jolson's 'Mammy' and at this point the irony of the situation is exposed for although Jimmy is physically imprisoned he is provoking sergeant to acknowledge regardless in what capacity the fact that a man is in his jail for drinking alcohol in a public space.
Jimmy's insight though he does not qualify it is to show that 'blackness' is an invention of the white imagination and has nothing to do with the skin colour nor the existence of the Aboriginal.
The colonizer's subjective 'object' is his own 'blackness'. Jimmy also makes clear that the imposition of a white 'notion' on a another human race is 'criminal'.
Jimmy's rage is inimical: Fuck you, you white bastard, fuck you. Thus the Aboriginal people 'return from exile into Aboriginality', they have freed themselves from a historical subjugation to white images of Aboriginal being.
They will know where they are going for they have envisioned it. One way of re-focusing cultural identity, and shifting the pull of the centre away from the dominant hegemonic colonizing culture and towards the acknowledgement reclamation of Aboriginal experience, subjectivity and history, is through the use of language.
Simon During notes that: The language spoken by the characters is english6 and Nyoongah together. Nyoongah is in fact a language derived from the various diverse Aboriginal languages that existed prior to colonization in the west of Australia.
Nyoongah and Aboriginal english are languages: To this end they are inside the historicity of the colonizer-colonized experience. The reality of oppression, violence and denigration is thus the basis of the formation of the languages.
The Aboriginal english is the result of attempts to survive under a cultural system that works towards obliterating one's language and one's presence; Knudsen notes that: Toni Morrison in her Nobel Lecture speaks of the relation between language and power, noting that: Jimmy uses english to shout abuse at authority, express rage and generally criticise the status quo. His english, thus, articulates colonial perpetration and expresses its violent effect. Him, he don't care. He's happy he's got us here.
Fuck 'em! Fuck 'em all! You fellas, you know why them wetjalas marchin' down the street, eh?
I'll tell youse why. The personal 'war' that rages in the non-space of the psyche, whose subject position has been 'knocked over', results in fatal attempts to gain power through the only means that 'sport' the stamp of validity - that is the language of the 'other' English.
Sam speaks to Jimmy in Nyoongah language to calm him down, but Jimmy falls into the trap of attempting to contest the aggressors on their terms, through their language.
Bhabha notes that: Joe is in fact intent on avoiding being dictated to altogether. He runs away with Mary once but is caught and thrown in jail. On his release he returns and with Mary's advice organizes for them to leave the settlement even if it is on the colonizer's terms - to not return to Northam.
Joe is not deterred he sets off with Mary to Northam.
Joe is the member of the Millimurra family who acts resistance outside the colonial rhetoric. He signs a statement to the effect that he will not go near the Northam Shire but is nevertheless determined to return to the home he knows. It is interesting, however, that his name is Joe and that Mary's name is Mary and they leave a hostile situation at Moore River where Mary is under threat of being sexually abused by the superintendent to journey with a new baby to an-other place.
Jimmy's anger and heavy inculcation of white antagonistic rhetoric and white christian rhetoric - he was a choir boy when young is translated in Joe as 'positive' action. But Gran's farewell song, to Joe and Mary, is anything but positive. Her words, in Nyoongah, under-cut the utopic effect of Joe and Mary's 'flight' out of the Moore River settlement, to go where?
Beyond the settlement there is no 'other' nation, no less hostility, no more 'space'. Gran's sorrowful song suggests that there is no escape from the effects of colonization but she poses the possibility for 'walking' - a motif at once reminiscent of nomadism as a lifestyle and of the notion of walking as a form of 'release', the letting go of attachment, the traversal of space, the acquisition of time. Gran sings: Weert miny, jinna koorling, weert miny.
Jinna koorling Wayanna, wayanna, wayanna, Weert, miny, weert miny, weert miny. Woe, woe, woe. My boy and girl and baby Going a long way walking, That way walking, That way walking.
Ashcroft, Griffiths and Tiffin note that the use of indigenous language: What is significant about the use of untranslated terms The 'writing' of No Sugar, as a postcolonial text, thus can be read as aiming to destabilise the ethnocentric and logocentric limitations of 'truth', 'linear evolution' and 'meaning'. Document, Internet resource Document Type: Jack Davis Find more information about: Jack Davis. Reviews User-contributed reviews Add a review and share your thoughts with other readers.
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