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My story of Annie's Mob: An Aboriginal history

Bennett, N. (2016) My story of Annie's Mob: An Aboriginal history. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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As an Aboriginal author, my thesis is grounded in an Indigenist paradigm; a paradigm that places Indigenous experiences at the center of inquiry and whose goals are to “serve and inform the Indigenous struggle for self-determination” (Rigney, 1997, p. 119). Hence, this thesis is an auto/ethnographic journey based on my lived experiences. Apart from my memories I draw on family documents as well as other printed source material, such as the diaries of my Grandfather and departmental files.

In the era when I was growing up, the cliché of; “Children should be seen and not heard” was popular. Not only that, my mother often told us that we children were never to tell anyone our business or talk about our personal life. Therefore, I never spoke freely about my family’s life, my growing up years and how I was ashamed of being an Aboriginal when I was younger. While was raising my four grandchildren, I started thinking about my family’s history and how my children and grandchildren knew little of our history. Through reading articles and books by Indigenous authors I came to better understand our history and have come to appreciate that our history must be documented by Indigenous peoples. Although many stories have been written about Indigenous peoples by non-Indigenous writers, these writings tend to perpetuate misconceptions and stereotypes about the First Peoples of Australia. An Indigenist approach seeks to debunk these misconceptions and place the Indigenous experience at the center of the inquiry.

Reflecting on the stories written by Indigenous authors, I decided to follow their example and tell my family’s story as best I could, despite my mother’s injunction never to tell anyone “our business”. Therefore, Annie’s Mob is the story of my own life as well as the story of my family, given that my life has unfolded within the context of my family and the historical times in which we lived. I hope my story will encourage other women and men to document their history and leave their stories as a legacy for the future.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Education
Supervisor(s): Aveling, Nado and Gothard, Jan
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