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The Black Grapevine

The Black Grapevine

Aboriginal activism and the stolen generations

By Linda Briskman

CONTENTSREVIEWS

The Black Grapevine tells the extraordinary story of Indigenous efforts to stop children becoming part of the 'stolen generations' and to end the government policies and practices which destroyed their families.

Linda Briskman uses the story of the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Island Child Care (SNAICC) to centre her book. Indigenous people involved tell how they came together to form a national organisation for child care, how they found similar experiences from one end of Australia to the other, how they pooled experience and emotion to provide support for one another, how they lobbied for a national inquiry.

And they campaigned. Indigenous activists fought with astonishing resilience for recognition of past and present practices, for the right to have Indigenous viewpoints to the forefront, and for resources.

Briskman's story goes beyond the contest with the state to give a convincing portrait of the ways in which Indigenous groups worked. There are connections with international action, educational and fund-raising projects, and the much-vaunted annual Aboriginal and Islander Children's Day.

She concludes by reflecting on the successes of campaigns and actions to date, and the extent of 'unfinished business'. Her strong academic background combines with the oral testimony of the activists to produce a fast-moving book that is both entertaining and rigorous.


CONTENTS

Strangers take our childrenReconstructing the pastThe activistsWe all had the same storiesSNAICC is bornKeeping children where they belongCampaignsChildren our dreamingInternationalising the causeIt's all about fundingUnfinished business

References/ Index


REVIEWS

This is an amazing example of indigenous activism and it is no wonder that it has become the subject of this book. Briskman’s use of oral history to blend human voices with historical research allows the reader to share the emotions of those dedicated to fighting for a better world for their children. It is an amazing journey of achievements and struggles in fighting for the rights of the child. …
Through telling the stories of SNAICC and the ACCAs, Briskman also illustrates the belief, strength, fortitude, resilience and perseverance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals and communities in fighting for their rights within Australia.

Reviews in Australian Studies No 1, March 2006

This is a handsome little book that purports to tell a big story, about the work of the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care Agencies. The issue of the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families is now well known, but the role of Indigenous peoples in publicising it, and changing government policy, has received little attention. This is a history of that activism … The book covers the period from the 1970s to the present, although the life histories of the activists sometimes take us further back into the past. Briskman tells a great story … When Bringing Them Home was released it was, as Briskman notes, attacked for failing to corroborate indigenous testimony with the historical record. The Black Grapevine is well-researched and well-referenced.

Naomi Parry, Australian Aboriginal Studies, No 2 (2004)

   

Published July 2003
Publisher The Federation Press
Paperback/226pp
ISBN 9781862874497
Australian RRP $22.95
International Price $20.00
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Aboriginal Studies
Australian History / Studies
Family Studies
Indigenous Studies
Secondary School Resources


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