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Book review. Tripping over feathers: scenes in the life of Joy Janaka Wiradjuri Williams

journal contribution
posted on 2011-12-01, 00:00 authored by Sarah PintoSarah Pinto
The history of the forcible removal of Indigenous children was cast
into the public arena by the publication of the Human Rights and
Equal Opportunity Commission’s Bringing Them Home Report in 1997.
Much has been written since then about the practices, policies and
experiences of child removal in Australia. Academics, journalists, public
commentators, politicians, filmmakers and those who were themselves
removed from their families as children have all made contributions to
public knowledge and discussion of this history, although not always in
productive or well informed ways. Peter Read has been an instrumental
figure in the investigation of this past, and Tripping over Feathers is
his latest, and perhaps most interesting, contribution. Read’s book
is a biography of Joy Janaka Wiradjuri Williams, although it is not a
biography in the conventional sense. Instead, Read makes use of welfare
documents, case notes, newspaper accounts, oral interviews, educational
curricula, poetry, testimony and his own memories to ‘imaginatively
reconstruct’ Joy’s life. He does so through the narration of what he calls a
series of ‘scenes’ from Joy’s life: imaginative vignettes outlining the ‘key
moments’ that are based on substantial and substantive research, albeit
research that is largely invisible in conventional historical terms.

History

Journal

History Australia

Volume

8

Issue

3

Pagination

210 - 212

Publisher

Taylor & Francis

Location

Abingdon, Eng.

ISSN

1833-4881

Language

eng

Publication classification

C4.1 Letter or note

Copyright notice

2011, Taylor & Francis

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