The Voice and Its Doubles: Media and Music in Northern Australia
A Body for the Voice
This chapter provides an ethnographic account of representational conflict between a missionary, church-supported radio network serving the specific interests of northeast Arnhem Land’s Yolngu people, and TEABBA, who sought to reach a more diverse Indigenous audience that would include Yolngu people. While the missionary radio service sought to address a linguistically distinct Yolngu audience, TEABBA sought to address a broader Aboriginal audience, broadcasting in a mix of local languages. The chapter describes a meeting between these two institutions and their indigenous supporters in northeast Arnhem Land, narrating the emergence of a debate between these organizations around who was best able to represent Indigenous interests in northeast Arnhem Land and what kind of collective subject should ultimately embody those interests. On the basis of this ethnographic narrative, the chapter argues that what is often derisively figured as a “black politics” should instead be understood as contributing to a vibrant field of Indigenous cultural production.