Program I: My Survival as an Aboriginal & Protected
My Survival as an Aboriginal
is the first film directed by an Aborigine, though with a white crew. Director Essie Coffey, a Murrawarri of far northwestern New South Wales, an activist and musician, is a resident of “Dodge City,” a tiny reserve on the fringe of a white town where her people were dumped after being forced from their tribal grounds. Her film shows the conflicts of living as an Aboriginal under white domination, but it is also part of her effort to make her community proud of their black identity while struggling to survive. This documentary captures the mood and lifestyle of black life in rural New South Wales: On the one hand, white control of black land, white education, white money and laws, white man's alcohol and white television nightmares; and on the other hand, black attitudes and family life, black education, black country music, a black movement and legal service, traditional food and hunting, and above all, black land. The Aboriginal people still resist and survive. Selected for Oberhausen Film Festival 1979; Documentary Prize, Sydney Film Festival 1979.