"Most people call me Auntie Rita, whites as well as Aboriginal people. Auntie is a term of respect of our older women folk. You don't have to be blood-related or anything. Everyone is kin. That's a beautiful thing because in this way no one is ever truly alone, they always have someone they can turn to."
Rita Huggins told her memories to her daughter Jackie, and some of their conversation is in this book. We witness their intimacy, their similarities and their differences, the '"fighting with their tongues". Two voices, two views on a shared life.' (Source: Publisher's blurb)
'Autobiographies by Aboriginal Women writers have gradually emerged for almost three decades now. Varied and interesting experiments are visible in the life-writing form by Aboriginal writers. In an attempt to write accounts of their own life and experiences, Aboriginal writers have employed different narrative techniques and methods. This chapter is a case study of life narratives by two contemporary Aboriginal women writers Jackie Huggins (Auntie Rita) and Jeanine Leane (Purple Threads.) The focus is on the different methods of writing while “recalling the past”. Interestingly, these narratives create “matriarchal spaces” of expression being written by women who are recalling either their mother’s experiences or Aunties’ stories. The chapter makes an attempt to relocate this idea of history from a feminist perspective.'
In this essay Heiss demonstrates that stories, poetry, songs, plays and memoirs are 'living' evidence of truths otherwise untold or appropriated (Source: 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 author examines an narratological approach used in double-voiced narratives in which present two equally authoritative narrative voices. To exemplify aspects of the structure of 'double-voice', and its narrative complexity the author examines the life writing of Rita and Jackie Huggins biographical account Auntie Rita.
'In 1994, Jackie Huggins and her mother Rita published a ground-breaking collaborative memoir, Auntie Rita . Through Jackie’s positioning in the text as commentator, interlocutor, and daughter, Auntie Rita becomes a complex inter-generational narrative that charts not only the individual life stories of Rita and Jackie but also a larger story of Aboriginal history in twentieth-century Australia. ' (Author's abstract)