Indigenous narratives, separations, denials, and memories: moving beyond loss

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Indigenous people across the globe have used biographical writing and memoir in order to describe and apprehend the impact of colonialism on individual families, and by extension entire communities. Nearly 20 years ago, I published a book that documented a journey I had been on for over a decade. The book was A Little Bird Told Me: Family Secrets, Necessary Lives. This monograph represented a journey of discovery in which I located my Aboriginal ancestors and answered a number of questions that had dogged my family for generations. Along the way, I discovered a story of secrets and lies, of madness, and of refuge. At the time of writing, the book I noted I felt unable to claim an Aboriginal identity but rather I obfuscated and instead wrote that I had Aboriginal heritage. In this chapter, I reflect on this statement of Indigeneity and the framing of identity, noting that my position has moderated, and altered. Two decades after I published the book, and 30 years after I began the search, I look back and consider the role of Indigenous women as the keepers and tellers of family stories. This is a story that echoes in most Indigenous communities affected by settler-colonialism.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to Global Indigenous History
EditorsAnn McGrath, Lynette Russell
Place of PublicationAbingdon Oxon UK
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781315181929, 9781315181929
ISBN (Print)9781138743106, 9781032077406
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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