On Sunday Apr. 13, Aboriginal author Doris Pilkington Garimara passed away at age 76.
Pilkington Garimara is known for her documentation of her mother, Molly Craig’s journey of escape from the Moor River Native Settlement north of Perth, Australia. The most well known book, Follow the Rabbit Proof Fence, published in 1996 follows Pilkington Garimara’s mother and her two relatives as they escape from the Native Settlement. Much like residential schools that have haunted American history, the three were taken from their home and forced to be taught the ways of the white Australian society and punished if they were found participating in any form of Aboriginal culture.
The three girls were able to escape by walking along the 1,600 kilometer (almost 1,000 miles) rabbit proof fence in Western Australia that passed along their home near Jigalong. They faced starvation, government and police trackers and the wild.
The book was adapted to the screen in 2002 was a huge success. If you have not read the book or watched the movie I recommend doing so. Not only is the storyline fast paced but it entices a vast array of emotions due to its truth and history.
Pilkington Garimara, her family and many surviving Aboriginals are among the Stolen Generations. Having Pilkington Garimara document the amazing story of her relatives through a number of books to tell and retell the history that has impacted so many indigenous people internationally has been an incredible benefit for the younger generations. The passing of Doris Pilkington Garimara is not going unnoticed and she should be and will be honored throughout the world.