'In the 1970s and 1980s, Luise Hercus pioneered interdisciplinary approaches to Aboriginal history. Bringing her linguistic expertise to history, she presented Aboriginal histories in Aboriginal languages to an academic readership. Biḍa-ru ‘gana mayi aḷali baldi-lugu gadna-ru ‘they killed her, they ripped her open with a bullet’. Speaking in Wangkangurru, Ben Murray retold stories of the massacres of his forebears in the Simpson Desert in the pages of Aboriginal History (Hercus 1977: 56, 58, 61). Hercus conducted and recorded interviews in Wangkangurru and Arabana to hear Aboriginal perspectives on the wadjabala maḍimaḍi (‘white fellows with hair-string’), that is, the ‘Afghans’ and their travels across South Australia (Hercus 1981, 1985: 27, 39). Whereas others had tended to ignore or downplay the actual words Aboriginal people spoke and the language of their stories, she insisted on representing Aboriginal stories first in Aboriginal languages, and then in English (Austin, Hercus & Jones 1988: 116-117; Hercus & Sutton 1986:4). Of course, these histories come to us mediated by Hercus’ transcription, translation and interpretation – we are not with Ben Murray as he speaks – but Hercus brought her readers closer to Aboriginal people’s experience and memories through representing Aboriginal languages.'