Throwing Off the Cloak: Reclaiming Self-reliance in Torres Strait focuses on the Torres Strait Islander peoples' evolving struggles for recognition of their unique Indigenous island identities.
Elizabeth Osborne foregrounds the voices of the Torres Strait Islanders themselves as views were rarely sought nor recorded from the arrival of outside intervention in the 1840s up to the 1970s. Osborne records the peoples' collective passive resistance as well as the successful "Border No Change" protest.
In more recent years the Islanders have refined their skills in dealing with political leaders and have used the media to reach a wider audience. The local newspaper and radio station are now platforms for lively discussion.
As governmental policies became less dismissive of Indigenous aspirations and concern for Indigenous welfare increased, Osborne explores the debates centring on the Islanders' struggle to recover their rights to their land, sea, fish resources, and decision making for their own well-being.
Throwing Off the Cloak is a passionately written and valuable chronicle of events of great significance to the recent history of the Torres Strait and has broader resonances for the future of remote Aboriginal mainland communities. — Dr Anna Shnukal, Queensland Museum