Author(s): Felicity Meakins
On 23 August 1966, approximately 200 Gurindji stockmen and their families walked off Wave Hill Station in the Northern Territory, protesting against poor working conditions and the taking of their land by pastoralists. Led by Vincent Lingiari, this land-mark action in 1966 precipitated the equal wages case in the pastoral industry and the establishment of the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (1986). While it is well known that the Walk Off was driven by the poor treatment of Aboriginal workers, what is less well known is the previous decades of massacres and killings, stolen children and other abuses by early colonists. Told in both English and Gurindji these compelling and detailed oral accounts of the events that Gurindji elders either witnessed or heard from their parents and grandparents, will ignite the interest of audiences nationally and internationally and challenge revisionist historians who question the extent of frontier battles and the legitimacy of the Stolen Generations.
Erika Charola is an ESL teacher and consultant linguist who began working with Indigenous people in the Victoria River District (Northern Territory) twenty years ago. She has also undertaken extensive documentation of Gurindji stories, which form the basis for this book. Felicity Meakins is a Senior Research Fellow in linguistics at the University of Queensland. She specialises in the documentation of Australian languages in the Victoria River District (Northern Territory). During the past 15 years she has worked as a community linguist and academic, facilitating language revitalisation programs, consulting on native title claims and conducting research into Indigenous languages.