'Don’t Take Your Love to Town is a story of courage in the face of poverty and tragedy. Ruby recounts losing her mother when she was six, growing up in a mission in northern New South Wales and leaving home when she was fifteen. She lived in tin huts and tents in the bush and picked up work on the land while raising nine children virtually single-handedly. Later she struggled to make ends meet in the Koori areas of Sydney. Ruby is an amazing woman whose sense of humour has endured through all the hardships she has experienced.' (Source UQP website: www.uqp.uq.edu.au)
Unit Suitable For
AC: Year 12 (English Unit 4)
Aboriginality, alcoholism, connection to place, dispossession of land and culture, domestic violence, identity, protectionism, racism
Critical and creative thinking, Ethical understanding, Information and communication technology, Intercultural understanding, Literacy, Personal and social
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, Asia and Australia's engagement with Asia
'During the 1980s Aboriginal Australians experienced setbacks in their quest for the restoration of their land rights. Neoliberal politics reframed such demands as special interests seeking to gain a material advantage at the expense of the general community and as a threat to the economic security of the nation. As a consequence, politicians failed to pass legislation that would formalize the national land rights system that would guarantee Aboriginal economic self-sufficiency. This paper argues that it was in this context that Aboriginal memoir emerged to prompt social action by recounting experiences of discrimination and exploitation erased by official history and by challenging the imposed racist stereotypes used to marginalize Aboriginal claims. These memoirs prompted sympathy and understanding among a broad readership, which enabled the formation of a political solidarity over the recognition of Aboriginal land rights. These memoirs also expressed a commonality of Aboriginal experience that served to unite an increasingly frayed Aboriginal activist movement eroded by neoliberal policies.' (Publication abstract)
'This article approaches the question of how Aboriginal Australians describe their own experiences of drinking alcohol, sometimes to excess, and how they recover, through a reading of seven autobiographies alongside the scholarship on Aboriginal drinking. The evidence contained in these life stories stresses personal factors and adds to the picture we glean from the scholarship, whether academic or governmental, epidemiological, anthropological or historical, which explains Aboriginal drinking habits in more social terms. Thus, the autobiographies themselves make an important intervention into the scholarship on Aboriginal drinking. Beyond this, negotiating with the stereotype of the “drunken Aborigine” is unavoidable for Aboriginal people who write about their drinking and these autobiographies represent a challenge to this popular image. This article examines a previously unexamined discourse on Aboriginal drinking that goes some way towards undermining the public representation of a drunken Aboriginal culture while simultaneously giving individual Aboriginal Australians greater voice in describing their past and current experiences.' (Publication abstract)
'Non-fiction books by and about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have arguably played a crucial role in the framing of public discussion of Indigenous issues in Australia since the 1950s. In this article, I track quantitative trends in the publishing of the approximately 769 such books for the Australian retail trade between 1960 and 2000, as part of what I describe as an emerging “cultural mission” among Australian book publishers through the period. The article then discusses two major trends within the data. The first is an overall increase in the number of titles published annually through the period, while the second is a declining interest by mass-market trade publishers in publishing books in the area from the 1980s onwards versus an increased publication rate by smaller independent presses and two large trade publishers with a particular interest in the area, one of which is also independently owned. The article concludes with a discussion of possible reasons for the latter trend in the context of ongoing debates about white Australian colonialism.' (Publication abstract)
'Do you read Australia’s First Nations (Indigenous) writers? If not, why not? People read for many reasons: information, entertainment, escape, to contemplate in company, to be moved. Reading can also be a political act, an act of solidarity, an expression of willingness to listen and to learn from others with radically different histories and lives.' (Introduction)
'Indigenous Australian cultures were long known to the world mainly from the writing of anthropologists, ethnographers, historians, missionaries, and others. Indigenous Australians themselves have worked across a range of genres to challenge and reconfigure this textual legacy, so that they are now strongly represented through their own life-narratives of identity, history, politics, and culture. Even as Indigenous-authored texts have opened up new horizons of engagement with Aboriginal knowledge and representation, however, the textual politics of some of these narratives - particularly when cross-culturally produced or edited - can remain haunted by colonially grounded assumptions about orality and literacy.
Through an examination of key moments in the theorizing of orality and literacy and key texts in cross-culturally produced Indigenous life-writing, Entangled Subjects explores how some of these works can sustain, rather than trouble, the frontier zone established by modernity in relation to 'talk' and 'text'. Yet contemporary Indigenous vernaculars offer radical new approaches to how we might move beyond the orality-literacy 'frontier', and how modernity and the a-modern are productively entangled in the process. ' (Source: Angus & Robertson website www.angusrobertson.com.au)
'The stories told by Ruby Langford Ginibi in Don't Take Your Love to Town, Sally Morgan My Place, and Mudrooroo in Wild Cat Falling provide the starting point for discussions on some of the key events and issues that have affected Aboriginal people.
Part 1: 'Aboriginal Experience' looks at the practice of removing Aboriginal children from their families, and denial of Aboriginality and equal rights. Part 2: 'Reclaiming Identity' looks at the importance of the family and the land to Aboriginal people and their quest to reclaim their identity.'