Reconstructing Aboriginal History and Cultural Identity through Self Narrative: A Study of Ruby Langford’s Autobiography Don‘t Take Your Love to Town
Keywords:Aboriginals, Colonial Politics, Multiculturalism, Assimilation, Aboriginal Culture, Anglo-Celtic Culture, Identity, Dispossession, Race and Ethnicity.
The last decades of previous century has witnessed the burgeoning of life narratives lending voice to the oppressed, dispossessed, and the colonized marginalities of race, class or gender across the world. A large number of autobiographical and biographical narratives that have appeared on the literary scene have started articulating their ordeals and their struggle for survival. The Aboriginals in Australia have started candidly articulating their side of story, exposing the harassment and oppression of their people in Australia. These oppressed communities find themselves sandwiched and strangled under the mainstream politics of multiculturalism, assimilation and secularism.
The present paper seeks to analyze how life writing serves the purpose of history in celebrated Australian novelist, Aboriginal historian and social activist Ruby Langford’s autobiographical narrative, Don’t Take Your Love to Town. The Colonial historiography of Australian settlement has never accepted the fact of displacement and eviction of the Aboriginals from their land and culture. The whites systematically transplanted Anglo-Celtic culture and identity in the land of Australia which was belonged to the indigenous for centuries. Don’t Take Your Love to Town reconstructs the debate on history of the colonial settlement and status of Aboriginals under subsequent government policies like reconciliation, assimilation and multiculturalism. The paper is an attempt to gaze the assimilation policy adopted by the state to bring the Aboriginals into the mainstream politics and society on the one hand, and the regular torture, exploitation and cultural degradation of the Aboriginals recorded in the text on the other. In this respect the paper sees how Langford encounters British history of Australian settlement and the perspectives of Australian state towards the Aboriginals. The politics of mainstream culture, religion, race and ethnicity, which is directly or indirectly responsible for the condition of the Aboriginals, is also the part of discussion in the paper.
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