Therese Davis, Romaine Moreton
Monash University
Davis, Therese, and Romaine Moreton. 'Indigenous Performance of History, Loss and Remembrance in Whispering In Our Hearts: The Story of the Mowla Bluff Massacre.' Interventions, vol.15, no.2, 2013, pp.211-223. 
Draws on Romaine Moreton’s work on Indigenous phenomenology to explain how filmmaker, Mitch Torres, uses film technology as a means for transmitting Indigenous embodied ways of knowing in her documentary account of the massacre of ancestors at Mowla Bluff in 1916.



This article draws from the authors’ different disciplinary and media backgrounds – Romaine Moreton in Indigenous philosophy, spoken-word performance and filmmaking and Therese Davis in film and cultural studies – to examine the Australian historical documentary film Whispering In Our Hearts: The Mowla Bluff Massacre (2001). Directed by Mitch Torres in collaboration with her community, the Nyikina, Mangala and Karrajarri people of northwestern Australia, the film uses a range of performance modes to expose how Indigenous accounts of a massacre in 1916 have been systematically covered over in and through written history. We examine ways in which the film ‘translates’ the meanings of the Indigenous community’s songs and stories, making their content available to a wider audience and argue that the film is more than a contested or competing history in the western sense. The community innovates to produce a new historiography by adopting and adapting film technology as a means for transmitting Indigenous embodied ways of knowing the relation between the present and the past, sentient and non-sentient, to perform Indigenous history and remembrance for the purpose of cultural healing.