Indigenous history saga up for top award
Nov 14, 2012: - A book charting the complex relationship between Indigenous and settler Australians during the middle four decades of the twentieth century has made it to the shortlist for the prestigious NSW Premier’s History Award.
For the author, James Cook University historian Associate Professor Russell McGregor, it is the second time this year his work has been singled out for a top literary award.
Indifferent Inclusion: Aboriginal people and the Australian Nation, was earlier this year shortlisted for the Australian History Prize in the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards, which was subsequently won by The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australia.
This time Associate Professor McGregor’s book is up against Mark McKenna’s An Eye for Eternity: The Life of Manning Clark and Brenda Niall’s True North: The Story of Mary and Elizabeth Durack.
The NSW prize, which is worth $15,000, will be announced on November 30.
Published by Aboriginal Studies Press, Indifferent Inclusion provides a new perspective on relations between Indigenous and settler Australians in the middle decades of the twentieth century.
It explores both the ideals that impelled the quest for Aboriginal inclusion and the public apathy on which that quest frequently stumbled.
The judges of the NSW award have commented that Indifferent Inclusion maps the changing ways in which the Australian Governments defined the concept of assimilation and developed more inclusive policies to incorporate Indigenous people into the Australian community, in the period from Federation to the 1967 referendum and beyond.
“McGregor’s story places less emphasis on oppression than it does on the agency exercised by Indigenous Australians as they secured inclusion within the nation,” they said.
“Using an impressive array of primary sources, McGregor develops an original and compelling argument. He suggests that inclusion was less a function of a political action than of a social and cultural campaign as Aboriginal Australians challenged the apathy of European Australians and claimed a place within the nation.
“This book is filled with sharp insights into particular events and movements, and establishes a rich general context for this complex and important story. This book is critical to an understanding of twentieth century Aboriginal history and to an explanation of changing notions of Australian citizenship.”
Issued: November 14, 2012
JCU Media Liaison, Jim O’Brien 07 4781 4822 or 0418 892449