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By Linda Westphalen

Examines existence heritage writing via Australian Aboriginal girls within the context of negotiations approximately one's prestige and claims to kingdom. This publication makes use of a methodological mixture of literary research, background and anthropology to attract out the special cultural heritages held in palimpsest inside texts.

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Extra info for An Anthropological and Literary Study of Two Aboriginal Women’s Life Histories: The Impacts of Enforced Child Removal and Policies of Assimilation

Example text

In 1997, Noel Olive collated an anthology of Pilbara Aboriginal life-histories, including many women, in Karijini Mirlimirli. Aboriginal Histories from the Pilbara (1997). Between 1997 and 2000, Roberta Sykes published her three volume life-history, Snake Cradle (1997), Snake Dancing (1998) and Snake Circle (2000), collectively entitled Snake Dreaming: Autobiography of a Black Woman4 In 2000, Doris Kartinyeri published her life story, Kick the Tin (2000). This list is not complete; much depends on how 'autobiography' as a genre is defined.

By the 1970s, there was a growing assumption that Indigenous stories in English were part of the wider discourse of AngloAustralian literatun:, a problematic and imperialist contention which fails to consider the Indigenous genealogical precedent of Dreaming, as well as the negotiated story and residential/ experiential history recounted as a claim to Country, identity and family. Yet, that Indigenous writing was beginning to be encouraged, catalogued and explored by literary critics at all was due largely to the increasing confidence and strength of Indigenous voices, who spoke and wrote of their situations, needs and experiences.

Anthropologist Gillian Cowlishaw also draws on the 'metaphor of the palimpsest' ... to draw attention to the active layering of cultural meanings in the material and habitual world of the everyday. It highlights the process by which the salience of those social forms which are enacted by one segment of society, continually obscure and contort the meanings generated among subordinate populations. What is hidden or undisclosed can remain powerful, although what is smothered may be dying unseen. At the same time, the palimpsest suggests that an active concealing and revealing of indigenous forms is used in the struggle for legitimacy and against shame, and can point to the way new shades of meaning can be attached to old indigenous and racial practices.

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