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Kim Scott’s Fiction within Western Australian Life-Writing: Voicing the Violence of Removal and Displacement

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Author(s): Cornelis Martin Renes

Journal: Coolabah
ISSN 1988-5946

Volume: 10;
Start page: 177;
Date: 2013;
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Keywords: Stolen Generations | absorption | assimilation | eugenics | Indigenous literature | life-writing | Kim Scott | trauma | displacement | identity formation

ABSTRACT
It is nowadays evident that the West’s civilising, eugenic zeal have had a devastating impact on all aspects of the Indigenous-Australian community tissue, not least the lasting trauma of the Stolen Generations. The latter was the result of the institutionalisation, adoption, fostering, virtual slavery and sexual abuse of thousands of mixed-descent children, who were separated at great physical and emotional distances from their Indigenous kin, often never to see them again. The object of State and Federal policies of removal and mainstream absorption and assimilation between 1930 and 1970, these lost children only saw their plight officially recognised in 1997, when the Bringing Them Home report was published by the Federal government. The victims of forced separation and migration, they have suffered serious trans-generational problems of adaptation and alienation in Australian society, which have been not only documented from the outside in the aforementioned report but also given shape from the inside of and to Indigenous-Australian literature over the last three decades. The following addresses four Indigenous Western-Australian writers within the context of the Stolen Generations, and deals particularly with the semi-biographical fiction by the Nyoongar author Kim Scott, which shows how a very liminal hybrid identity can be firmly written in place yet. Un-writing past policies of physical and ‘epistemic’ violence on the Indigenous Australian population, his fiction addresses a way of approaching Australianness from an Indigenous perspective as inclusive, embracing transculturality within the nation-space.
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