A Her-Storical Biography and Finding Family History Through the Archives

Travis, Kathy ORCID: 0000-0001-8686-080X (2023) A Her-Storical Biography and Finding Family History Through the Archives. Australian Journal of Politics and History, 69 (1). pp. 110-121. ISSN 0004-9522


Two hundred years of constant and deliberate disruption, dislocation and mistreatment of First Peoples has not just been experienced individually but collectively between generations and across communities. The legacy of discriminatory treatment continues for many First Peoples in archives where their stories are still locked in police files, exemption files, child welfare reports and in some instances privately owned records, meaning they are not always able to locate their story or own their identity. People whose family members were impacted by government policies (such as exemption) need to undertake extensive archival research in order to know their family history. This paper describes how the author combined auto-ethnographic description of her personal experience of archival research with documentary evidence to create a personal and historical narrative. This narrative has been captured in a “her-storical biography”, a cultural artefact meant for family. This paper argues that the First Nations re-authoring of colonial narratives described here might work as a model for people looking for family her-stories of exemption in the written archive.

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Item type Article
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/46988
DOI 10.1111/ajph.12871
Official URL http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ajph.12871
Subjects Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 4505 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, society and community
Current > Division/Research > Institute for Sustainable Industries and Liveable Cities
Keywords First Nations people, white discourses, white voice narration, whiteness, construct and reality, bureaucracy, colonisation, Australia
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