Remembering Ruby

Pam Johnson, Janie Conway-Herron

Abstract


‘Remembering Ruby’ is a tribute to Doctor Ruby Langford Ginibi, a remarkable woman and an important Australian writer. Winner of numerous awards for her contribution to literature, as well as to Australian culture, Ruby was an Aboriginal Elder of the Bundjalung nation and a tireless campaigner for the rights of her people. Ruby’s writing is passionate, sincere and heart-felt, as well as extraordinarily funny and articulate. She knew that getting people to listen to her story would be fundamental to naming the hidden history of Indigenous Australia and to changing cultural perceptions in a broader context. As an elder she took on the complex and demanding role of ‘edumacation’, as she called it, and her representations of life and culture continue to provide important reflections, from an Indigenous perspective, on the effects of ignorance, racism and colonisation in an Australian context. As Aboriginal mother, aunty, teacher and scholar her writing represents a particular Australian experience for a readership of people interested in human rights and equality the world over. This monograph, in honouring Ruby Langford Ginibi, is the written expression of an ongoing dialogue between the two authors about their experiences living in Australia and the way that Ruby has interconnected with us and influenced our experiences of growing up in an Australian cultural context. It also brings into focus the many ways that Ruby Langford Ginibi’s writing has been central to challenging and changing prevailing perspectives on the lives of Indigenous people over the last twenty-five years. An excellent communicator with a wicked sense of humour, Ruby’s tireless telling of the truth about the impacts of invasion on Indigenous people makes her an important cultural ambassador for all Australians. Ruby’s totem, the Willy Wagtail, is connected to being a messenger for her people and in writing ‘Remembering Ruby’ we aim to contribute to keeping her message of hope and resilience alive and, on the anniversary of her passing, to continue to honour her inimitable and eternal spirit.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1344/co201281-29

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