Satellite Dreaming: Language first

Title:
Satellite Dreaming: Language first
Year:
1991
Category:
WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that the following clip may contain images and voices of deceased persons
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Freda Glynn (director of CAAMA) talks about broadcasting in Aboriginal languages in areas where Aboriginal languages are the first language spoken. Phillip Batty (deputy director of CAAMA) talks about utilizing the national satellite in a way useful to Aboriginal peoples in the remote areas of Australia. Summary by Romaine Moreton.

The Federal Government’s announcement that there would be a national satellite (AUSSAT) encouraged the use of the satellite for Aboriginal peoples in the remote areas of Australia. Freda Glynn and Phillip Batty talk about the effect of commercial television being broadcast unrestricted into Indigenous communities and how it would have a harmful affect on communities where an Aboriginal language is the first language spoken.

 

Satellite Dreaming synopsis

A documentary about the history of Indigenous media, including television production, in Australia, and the start of Indigenous media in the centre of Australia.

 

Satellite Dreaming curator's notes

Satellite Dreaming is an informative documentary about the vision Aboriginal peoples had in developing an ethically and culturally relevant use of media. The main focus of the Indigenous use of media put forward in this film was to sustain Indigenous languages and cultural perspectives in an environment saturated by Western culture and the English language.

The creation of Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA) was an effort to maintain the strength of Indigenous culture and language through mainstream media. The idea was for Indigenous people to produce media that would sustain a strong Indigenous identity that varied from region to region. In Sydney for example, the needs and wants of the Indigenous community differ to those in the central desert area of Alice Springs and South Australia. These different needs are evident in the content of the programs made, the format they are made in (for example magazine style or documentary), down to how the shows are produced.

Rhoda Roberts talks about First in Line, the first prime time show hosted by two Aboriginal people – Rhoda Roberts and Michael Johnson – and talks about how it built up an audience. Lester Bostock and Gerry Bostock (Koori Productions) discuss the need for Aboriginal programs on a continuous basis. Frances Peters (director, ABC TV) talks about the ethics of producing Aboriginal programming. Aboriginal programming in its development was about skills development, but equally importantly it was an ethical approach that would eventually lead to the establishment of Indigenous media serving the cultural perspective of Indigenous peoples.

Satellite Dreaming is a useful teaching resource on the history of Indigenous media, and how it differs from mainstream programming.

Notes by Romaine Moreton

Production company:
CAAMA Productions
Producers:
Ivo Burum, Tony Dowmunt
Director:
Ivo Burum