Skip to content

The Return of the Noble Savage…

MPhil Thesis by Frances Peters-Little

Peters-Little, F. (2002) The Return of the Noble Savage by Popular Demand: A Study of Aboriginal Television Documentary in Australia. MPhil Thesis. Australian National University.

'This thesis, entitled The Return of the Noble Savage: By Popular Demand, is written after several years of being an avid Aboriginal television watcher, filmmaker, and activist. It is based on research on a neglected topic and in response to the consistent attack from well-meaning critics, in an attempt to argue for the complexity of the meanings generated on television, and for the rights of the individual filmmaker in representation.

In myth-making about Australian Aborigines there has been a consistent paradigm of opposing poles - noble and savage, good blacks and bad blacks, primitive and civilised, real and unreal. Oscillating between these two poles are all kinds of imaginings of Aboriginal identity, politics and desires for truthful representation.'

  • Frances Peters-Little is a Yuwaalaraay/Gamilaraay woman. She is a filmmaker, historian, author and musician. Her most-recognised films are Vote Yes for Aborigines (2007) and Tent Embassy (1992). Publications are, Passionate Histories: Myth, Memory & Indigenous Australia, co-edited with A. Curthoys J. Docker (ANU Press, 2010); Indigenous Biography and Autobiography, co-edited with P. Read and A. Haebich (ANU Press, 2008); and ‘Exchanging Histories’, Aboriginal History 30 (2006), co-edited with A. McGrath and I. Macfarlane.