Giiyong Bookshop

  • '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. This title has been translated into other languages. Jackie Huggins is a highly respected Aboriginal rights activist and author from the Bidjara and Birri-Gubba Juru peoples of Queensland. She has taught in the university sector and held many senior positions in Aboriginal and statutory organisations. She was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2001.
  • Through a pair of ornate wrought-iron gates was one of the oldest universities in the country. Our paths had just intersected. It was 1985 and I, little black duck, was about to embark on a law degree. Set within the explosive cultural shifts of the 1960s and 1980s, Becoming Kirrali Lewis chronicles the journey of a young Aboriginal teenager as she leaves her home town in rural Victoria to take on a law degree in Melbourne in 1985. Adopted at birth by a white family, Kirrali doesn’t question her cultural roots until a series of life-changing events force her to face up to her true identify. Her decision to search for her biological parents sparks off a political awakening that no-one sees coming, least of all Kirrali herself as she discovers her mother is white and her father is a radical black activist. Narrative flashbacks to the 1960s, where Kirrali’s biological mother, Cherie, is rebelling against her parent’s strict conservatism sees her fall into a clandestine relationship with an Aboriginal man. Unmarried and pregnant, Cherie’s traumatic story of an unforgiving Australian society give meaning to Kirrali’s own rites of passage nearly twenty years later. The generational threads of human experience are the very things that will complete her. If only she can let go.
  • Written by Aboriginal students at Bega TAFE, and illustrated by Aboriginal children from Eden Public School, this delightful book tells of the lives of the Bittangabee tribe. The story follows Ninima and his family on their long summer journey into the mountains to collect Bogong moths, and then home again to the sea. Bittangabee Tribe is an excellent starting point for studies into aspects of traditional Indigenous life, pre-colonisation. Its simplicity makes it an ideal text for study in the early and primary years, while the references to traditional life give it potential to be studied in later years as an introduction to issues such as:
    • Indigenous trading and trade routes
    • Aboriginal lifestyle pre-colonisation
    • Bush tucker
    • Traditional language and boundary divisions
    • Indigenous seasons
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    Calypso Summer is a story told by Calypso, a young Nukunu man, fresh out of high school in Rastafarian guise. After failing to secure employment in sports retail, his dream occupation, Calypso finds work at the Henley Beach Health Food shop where his boss pressures him to gather Aboriginal plants for natural remedies. Growing up in urban Adelaide and with little understanding of his mother's traditional background, Calypso endeavours to find the appropriate native plants. This leads him to his Nukunu family in the southern Flinders Ranges and the discovery of a world steeped in cultural knowledge. The support of a sassy, smart, young Ngadjuri girl, with a passion for cricket rivalling his own, helps Calypso to reconsider his Rastafarian facade and understand how to take charge of his future.
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    Dark Emu injects a profound authenticity into the conversation about how we Australians understand our continent ... [It is] essential reading for anyone who wants to understand what Australia once was, or what it might yet be if we heed the lessons of long and sophisticated human occupation.’ Judges for 2016 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Dark Emu puts forward an argument for a reconsideration of the hunter-gatherer tag for pre-colonial Aboriginal Australians. The evidence insists that Aboriginal people right across the continent were using domesticated plants, sowing, harvesting, irrigating, and storing — behaviours inconsistent with the hunter-gatherer tag. Bruce Pascoe is a Bunurong man born in the Melbourne suburb of Richmond. He is a member of the Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative of southern Victoria and has been the director of the Australian Studies Project for the Commonwealth Schools Commission. Bruce has had a varied career as a teacher, farmer, fisherman, barman, fencing contractor, lecturer, Aboriginal language researcher, archaeological site worker and editor.
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    Dark Secrets: After Dreaming (AD) 1887-1961

    A6 32pp ISBN 978-0-9807718-1-7 $12.00 Dark Secrets was WINNER OF THE 2010 SCANLON AWARD. Leane also won the 2010 David Unapion Award. This is a hard-hitting uncompromising look at white inscription of black history and experience in Australia. Leane’s work is direct, clear-eyed and pulls no punches. Her expression is direct and will certainly bring tears to the eyes of both black and white Australians - though possibly for different reasons. Leane’s is an original voice, informed by her research and by her heart.

    About the Jeanine Leane

    Jeanine Leane is a Wiradjuri woman from south-west New South Wales. She is currently employed as a research fellow at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS). AIATSIS is a premier national multidisciplinary research institution focusing on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. It has a special mission to provide leadership and excellence in undertaking, promoting and facilitating leading edge research in Australian Indigenous Studies and increasing understanding of Indigenous cultures and societies within Australia and internationally. Jeanine has completed a PhD on twentieth century images and representations of Aboriginal Australians by both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal authors in the genre of social realism. She has been a university academic in the area of teacher education and a secondary school teacher of literature and history. Her research interests concern the interface between literature and history, the power of language and representations constructed from a particular cultural standpoint and the role of literature in communicating the consciousness of one particular cultural group of another. Jeanine’s prose and poetry have been short-listed for the 2006, 2007 and 2008 David Unaipon Award at the Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards.
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    In her memoir Too Afraid to Cry, published in 2013, Indigenous poet Ali Cobby Eckermann related how she had been tricked away from her mother as a baby, repeating the trauma her mother had suffered when she was taken from her grandmother many years before. Eckermann in turn had to give her own child up for adoption. In her new poetry collection, Inside My Mother, she explores the distance between the generations created by such experiences, felt as an interminable void in its darkest aspects, marked by sadness, withdrawal, yearning and mistrust, but in other ways a magical place ‘beyond the imagination’, lit by dreams and visions of startling intensity, populated by symbolic presences and scenes of ritual and commemoration, chief amongst them the separation and reunion of mother and child. Though the emotions are strong, they are expressed simply and with a sense of significance in nature which reminds one of the poetry of Oodgero Noonuccal, whose successor Eckermann is.
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    ‘In little bit long time we experience a true poet’s strong and singing voice… She has a tradition of innovators behind her - poets from Oodgeroo Noonuccal to Lionel Fogarty - who also experimented with writing the spoken word and creating new forms. When I first heard Ali read these poems I wanted copies immediately so I could spread the word.’ - Robert Adamson Ali Cobby Eckermann is a nunga poet and writer from the Northern Territory, now living in the ‘intervention-free’ South Australian village of Koolunga. Her poetry charts a long journey to reconnect with her Yankunytjatjara family. little bit long time was first published by The Australian Poetry Centre as part of their New Poets Series.
  • An authoritative collection of Australian Aboriginal writing over two centuries, across a wide range of fiction and non-fiction genres. Including some of the most distinctive writing produced in Australia, it offers rich insights into Aboriginal culture and experience. A groundbreaking collection of work from some of the great Australian Aboriginal writers, the Macquarie PEN Anthology of Aboriginal Literature offers a rich panorama of over 200 years of Aboriginal culture, history and life. From Bennelong's 1796 letter to contemporary creative writers, Anita Heiss and Peter Minter have selected work that represents the range and depth of Aboriginal writing in English. The anthology includes journalism, petitions and political letters from both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as well as major works that reflect the blossoming of Aboriginal poetry, prose and drama from the mid-twentieth century onwards. Literature has been used as a powerful political tool by Aboriginal people in a political system which renders them largely voiceless. These works chronicle the ongoing suffering of dispossession, but also the resilience of Aboriginal people across the country, and the hope and joy in their lives. With some of the best, most distinctive writing produced in Australia, this anthology is invaluable for anyone interested in Aboriginal writing and culture. 'This volume is extremely significant from an Indigenous cultural perspective, containing many works that afford the reader a treasured insight into the Indigenous cultural world of Australia.' - From the foreword by Mick Dodson The Macquarie PEN Anthology of Aboriginal Literature is published as part of the Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature project.
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    The people of the south coast of NSW have a long and complex relationship with the coastal environment; one that has nurtured them for thousands of years. Mutton Fish includes lively interviews with Aboriginal people who have fished traditionally and taken part in the modern fishing industry. With clarity, it introduces some of the issues that arise when Indigenous cultural practice confronts white law. 'They used to gather mutton fish and trade with Chinese people... it would really be a family gather, where men would be diving, gathering mutton fish, bringing it to share and women and kids would be lighting the fires. So our people started trading way back then.' Mutton fish, or abalone, is a subsistence food — easy to find and harvest, extremely rich in energy and accessible for as long as the beaches are freely open to all. Mutton Fish, unique in its breadth and accessibility, seeks to tell of this relationship and what has happened to the south coast people as their access to the coastal resources has been progressively restricted by European competition. The authors have created a thoroughly researched, readable history of Indigenous life on south coast NSW. Mutton Fish includes lively interviews with Aboriginal people who have fished traditionally and taken part in the modern fishing industry.
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    Winner of the 2010 David Unaipon Award for Indigenous Writing, Purple Threads is a humorous collection of rural yarns by a gifted storyteller. Jeanine Leane grew up on a sheep farm near Gundagai, and the stories are based on her childhood experiences in a house full of fiercely independent women. In between Aunty Boo's surveillance of the local farmers' sheep dip alliance and Aunty Bubby's fireside tales of the Punic Wars, the women offer sage advice to their nieces on growing up as Indigenous girls in a white country town. The cast of strong Aboriginal women in a rural setting gives a fascinating insight into both Aboriginal and rural life. Farming is not an easy pursuit for anyone, but the Aunties take all the challenges in their stride, facing torrential rain, violent neighbours and injured dogs with an equal mix of humour and courage.
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    by Ali Cobby Eckermann WINNER – 2012 black&write! kuril dhagun Indigenous Writing Fellowship WINNER – 2012 Deadly Award Outstanding Achievement in Literature WINNER – 2013 Kenneth Slessor Poetry Prize and Book of the Year Award in the NSW Premier's Literary and History Awards A verse novel that centres around the impact of colonisation in mid-north South Australia around 1880. Ruby, refugee of a massacre, shelters in the woods where she befriends an Irishman trapper. The poems convey how fear of discovery is overcome by the need for human contact, which, in a tense unravelling of events, is forcibly challenged by an Aboriginal lawman. The natural world is richly observed and Ruby’s courtship is measured by the turning of the seasons.
  • Roxy May Redding’s got music in her soul and songs in her blood. She lives in a small, hot, dusty town and she’s dreaming big. When she gets the chance to study music in the big city, she takes it. In Roxy’s new life, her friends and her music collide in ways she could never have imagined. Being a poor student sucks... singing for her dinner is soul destroying... but nothing prepares Roxy for her biggest challenge. Her crush on Ana, the local music journo, forces Roxy to steer through emotions alien to this small-town girl. Family and friends watch closely as Roxy takes a confronting journey to find out who she is.
  • The board game, titled The Storyteller, was created by Geelong Wathaurong/Ngarrindjeri man Glenn Shea, who was a youth justice worker at the Wathaurong Aborginal Co-operative when the game was created. The idea for The Storyteller evolved through Glenn's personal experience of working with Aboriginal adolescents and young people. The Storyteller, a cultural educational resource, was designed to provide a unique learning experience which immerses participates in a stimulating and challenging learning activity which can be used in classroom settings for the development of cultural awareness and for recreational purposes. The Storyteller is a board game which was developed to provide knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal people, society and culture utilising a generic and non-political framework. It is grounded in developing an awareness of traditional Aboriginal culture and modern Aboriginal themes within a contemporary setting.
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    Too Afraid to Cry is a memoir that, in bare blunt prose and piercingly lyrical verse, gives witness to the human cost of policies that created the Stolen Generations of Indigenous people in Australia. It is a narrative of good and evil, terror and happiness, despair and courage. It is the story of a people profoundly wronged, told through the frank eyes of a child, and the troubled mind of that child as an adult, whose life was irretrievably changed by being tricked away from her family and adopted into a German Lutheran family. What makes this book sing is not only Ali Cobby Eckermann's strong and unique narrative voice and her ability to cut to the essence of things in her poetry, but also the astounding courage with which she leads the reader through the complex account of a life in free-fall and a journey to wholeness through reconnection with her birth family and its ageless culture and wisdom. This is a brave book, written by a woman who has faced her demons, transformed her suffering into a work of art, and found her true sitting place in the world.
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    A contemporary story about a young girl who has grown up in the city and who is about to return to Badu Island in the Torres Strait to stay with her aka (grandmother). It is time for Wandihnu to learn about the customs of her people. The night before she leaves, Wandihnu drifts off to sleep and dreams about the journey, about her aka, and about a very special friend. Illustrated by Benjamin Hodges