This article proposes a re-reading of Aboriginal author Sally Morgan’s Stolen Generations narrative My Place
(1987) in post-Apology Australia (2008–present). The novel tells the story of Morgan’s discovery of her maternal Aboriginal origins through the life-stories of her mother and grandmother; the object of a quest for the past that is both relational and matrilineal; incorporating elements of autobiography and as-told-to memoirs to create a form of choral autoethnography. Morgan’s text explores the intergenerational consequences of child removal in the Aboriginal context and is representative of Indigenous-authored narratives in its suggestion that the children and grand-children of victims of colonial policies and practices can work through the trauma of their ancestors. I examine the literary processes of decolonization of the Indigenous writing/written self and community; as well as strategies for individual survival and cultural survivance in the Australian settler colonial context; especially visible through the interactions between traumatic memories and literary memoirs, a genre neglected by trauma theory’s concern with narrative fragmentation and the proliferation of “themed” life-writing centered on a traumatic event. This article calls for a revision of trauma theory’s Eurocentrism through scholarly engagement with Indigenous experiences such as Morgan’s and her family in order to broaden definitions and take into account collective, historical, and inherited trauma.
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