Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save the World


FISH - Foundation for Indigenous Sustainable Health


Winner, Small Publishers' Adult Book of the Year Australian Industry Awards 2020

Shortlisted, Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year, Australian Book Industry Awards, 2020 Award

Shortlisted, Non-fiction, Indie Book Awards, 2020 Award

Longlisted, Booktopia Favourite Australian Book, 2020 Award

Longlisted, Bookseller's Choice for Adult Nonfiction, Australian Booksellers Association, 2020 Award

Longlisted, Non-fiction, Indie Book Awards, Leading Edge, 2020

A paradigm-shifting book in the vein of Sapiens that brings a crucial Indigenous perspective to historical and cultural issues of history, education, money, power, and sustainability – and offers a new template for living. 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.

Most of all it’s about a very special way of thinking, of learning to see from a native perspective, one that is spiritually and physically tied to the earth around us, and how it can save our world.