Sand Talk

This Global Read was held on May 4, 2021 at 6 pm Pacific Time.

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Sand Talk

by Tyson Yunkaporta

This remarkable book is about everything from echidnas to evolution, cosmology to cooking, sex and science and spirits to Schrödinger’s cat.

As an indigenous person, Tyson Yunkaporta looks at global systems from a unique perspective, one tied to the natural and spiritual world. In considering how contemporary life diverges from the pattern of creation, he raises important questions. How does this affect us? How can we do things differently?

In this thoughtful, culturally rich, mind-expanding book, he provides answers. Yunkaporta’s writing process begins with images. Honoring indigenous traditions, he makes carvings of what he wants to say, channeling his thoughts through symbols and diagrams rather than words. He yarns with people, looking for ways to connect images and stories with place and relationship to create a coherent world view, and he uses sand talk, the Aboriginal custom of drawing images on the ground to convey knowledge. 

In Sand Talk, he provides a new model for our everyday lives. Rich in ideas and inspiration, it explains how lines and symbols and shapes can help us make sense of the world. It’s about how we learn and how we remember. It’s about talking to everyone and listening carefully. It’s about finding different ways to look at things.



About the Author

Tyson Yunkaporta is an academic, an arts critic, and a researcher who belongs to the Apalech Clan in far north Queensland, Australia. He is a senior lecturer in Indigenous Knowledges at Deakin University in Melbourne. Author, academic, educator, Indigenous thinker, maker (traditional wood carving), arts critic, researcher, poet. Born-country is Melbourne and adoptive and community/cultural ties all over from Western New South Wales to Perth.

Al Harris 3About the Host

Indigenous Advisor Al Harris is a member of the Bibbulmann clan from the Noongar tribe of Western Australia. With his sons they use many aspects of Aboriginal culture, including dance, music, song, art and history, to bring Indigenous people into the hearts and minds of their audiences. Al, the patriarch, is well known for didgeridoo playing, and is equally at home performing the traditional songs of his homelands as he is speaking to the world’s corporate leaders about inclusion, reconciliation and leadership. He has shared the stage with the likes of U2, and performed for the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela. With his sons Tristan and Azlan Harris, Western Creation have toured the depth and breadth of this land they call home.

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