Welcome to Dig Deeper, a content series allowing you to dive as deep as you like into topics that are underserved in the current media landscape but need and deserve more coverage and attention.
Its purpose is to shed light on important community-based issues facing minority groups. To start with, we’re having honest and open conversations around January 26, the national mood and changing the date.
Finding a good podcast is like finding a new best friend. The voices in your ears become your guide through the day, your companion to unfamiliar terrain, and the friendly teacher dropping hot knowledge morsels. All you have to do is hit play and you’re transported to another world.
The medium is the perfect way to passively broaden your horizons while you go about your business. This is especially true for First Nations history — the side of our collective experiences that don’t get a proper look-in in our history books.
Podcasting also has an interesting intersection with Indigenous cultures, as oral storytelling is such an integral part of them. In many ways, podcasts by Indigenous people can be seen as an act of decolonisation and resistance to linear colonial historical paradigms.
With January 26 fast approaching, now is the perfect time to dive deep into some of the best work from Indigenous podcasters and those who are seeking to redress the historical imbalance.
Using oral storytelling and audio to learn more about Indigenous cultures across the country is fitting. There is a tonne of great content out there that has either stopped or taken a break, so below, we’ve listed the best currently active podcasts that will open up your perspective on so-called ‘Australia’ and keep you entertained while doing so.
Yarning Up with Caroline Kell
Hosted by proud Mbarbrum woman and founder of Blak Wattle coaching, Caroline Kell, Yarning Up features great and enlivening conversations with Indigenous leaders and thinkers. The podcast is designed “to help all Australians learn and unlearn Australia’s past”.
There’s roughly one episode every month and Kell has spoken to people like Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe, commentator Dr Anita Hess, and even Uncle Jack Charles.
Produced by the ABC and presented by Daniel Browing, a Bundjalung and Kullilli man, ‘Word Up‘ takes you on a journey through “diverse languages of Black Australia from Anmatyerre to Arrernte, from Bidjara to Bundjalung, from Nyungar to Ngaanyatjarra, from Yankunytjatjara to Yorta Yorta — one word at a time.”
Each week, the podcast speaks with an Indigenous person who shares one of their favourite words in Language and the context and history of the word.
Episodes range from four minutes to 10 minutes, so you can listen to a bunch in a short amount of time, or marinate on a single word to add to your dictionary each week.
This one is somewhat podcast-adjacent, but ‘Speaking Out‘ is the ABC Radio National show hosted by Gamilaroi and Eualeyai woman, Professor Larissa Behrendt. She is the Chair of Indigenous Research at the Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning at the University of Technology, Sydney, as well as a multi-award-winning author and filmmaker.
Speaking Out covers up-to-date stories in politics, art, and culture through Indigenous perspectives and often features distinguished Indigenous academics, critics, and creatives. The show runs on ABC Radio National on Fridays at 12pm but you can also download it to listen to at your own pleasure.
You can find ‘Speaking Out’ on the ABC Listen app.
Black Magic Woman
The Black Magic Woman in question is host Mundanara Bayles who hails from Sydney’s Redfern and whos family have long been political activists. ‘Black Magic Woman‘ is a conversational yarn with Indigenous leaders, academics, and business people where each episode will delve into the life and work of a new guest.
The podcast is designed to feel as though you’re “sitting around the kitchen table just having a yarn,” and it does just that.
“It’s the way First Nations people have been building relationships and getting to know each other for tens of thousands of years,” Bayles has said.
Search Engine Sex
This one is not technically an Indigenous podcast about Indigenous topics, but it’s too good not to include. Search Engine Sex is Australia’s first Spotify Original podcast and it’s hosted by Indigenous Australian Rowdie Walden.
If you’re not already across this boundary-breaking show, you’ll want to add it to the top of your to-listen pile, as Walden speaks with experts to answer your most Googled sex-related questions.
As he told The Latch back in 2020, “as an Indigenous person, as an Aboriginal person, I bring my Aboriginality no matter what the topic is.”
“It’s refreshing, especially in the 2020s, to have this platform and showcase Indigenous voices with the content of what we might not expect.”
You can find Search Engine Sex on Spotify.
Frontier War Stories
‘Frontier War Stories’ is the project of Gamilaraay and Kooma radio host, Boe Spearim. Spearim seeks out experts, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to discuss the “first 140 years of conflict and resistance” following the British invasion.
He describes the podcast as “dedicated to truth-telling about a side of Australia that has been left out of the history books.” He has spoken with fascinating people, including Rachel Perkins, director of the SBS doco ‘The Australian Wars’, and Rodney Dillion, Amnesty International Australia’s Indigenous Rights Advisor.
The podcasts drop roughly every couple of months.
Produced by ABC Radio National and hosted by Daniel Browning, ‘AWAYE!‘ tells “stories about Aboriginal arts and culture from across Australia — as well as highlighting great radio from Indigenous broadcasters around the world,” according to Australian Audio Guide.
A regular segment in this radio show is ‘Word Up’, mentioned above. You can listen to the ‘Word Up’ segment in ‘AWAYE!’ episodes, or on their own. Find this podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and the ABC Listen app.
If you’ve plugged into the above but still want a little something extra, these podcasts have wrapped up but are still very much worth diving into if you haven’t already.