Sometimes it’s not easy to form a neat and tidy picture of events.But it ceases to matter as you realise that neatly chronological sequences don’t necessarily generate a ‘true’ picture of a person anyway.The stories are grouped into five sections: The book also includes a list of People, Places and Organisations, Contributor Biographies, and Acknowledgements ‘Trying to Get the Story Straight’ begins with stories from mission where Tracker was brought up.When his mother died in Alice Springs in 1957, welfare authorities split the family, sending the older light-skinned ones south, and the younger, dark-skinned ones north to Croker Island.
With the Stella Prize due to be announced the day after tomorrow, I’ve realised I’m not going to finish the shortlisted book I’m currently reading, so I’ll share my thoughts about Alexis Wright’s a tribute to the Aboriginal leader Tracker Tilmouth, is not your ordinary sort of biography.
The conflict between urban and non-urban, bush, whitefellas, blackfellas, is extremely fraught.
(p.83) Tracker’s clear-sighted discussion of these issues makes it obvious, if you haven’t realised it before, that deciding who is Aboriginal and who is not, is nobody’s business but theirs.
So she was not only dealing with the sick and issuing medication, fixing people’s wounds and boils, or sores and also skin rashes. She did everything from go to whoa, whatever medical.
If someone had died in the camp she was the one who dealt with it. (p.34)She didn’t always get support from the authorities about keeping siblings together either, and Tracker ended up in Darwin for high school while his brothers stayed on Croker Island until it was eventually closed down in 1967.
Aboriginal lawyers were by this time a dime a dozen. I had not seen many Aboriginal doctors, and never an Aboriginal economist. (p.242) Tracker’s vision was for Indigenous people to own the land so that they could be economically independent, having meaningful work by running cattle stations and so on.