1st Edition

Reframing Indigenous Biography

Edited By Shino Konishi, Malcolm Allbrook, Tom Griffiths Copyright 2025
    288 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book explores the history, practice and possibilities of writing about the lives of First Nations’ peoples in Australia as well as Aotearoa New Zealand, North America and the Pacific.

    This interdisciplinary collection recognises the limitations of Western biographical conventions for writing Indigenous long and short-form biographies. Through a series of diverse life stories of both historical and contemporary First Nations figures, investigates innovative ways to ameliorate the challenges we face in recovering the stories of Indigenous people and reimagining their lives in productive new ways. Many of the chapters in this collection are deeply reflective, aiming not just to relate the life story of an individual but also to reflect on the archival, intellectual and emotional journeys that biographers undertake in researching Indigenous biography.

    This volume will be of value to scholars and students interested in Indigenous Studies, biography, history, literature, creative writing, archaeology, and colonial and postcolonial studies.

    1. Reframing Indigenous Biography: An Introduction

    Shino Konishi, Malcolm Allbrook, and Tom Griffiths


    Life Stories

    Mungo Lady and Mungo Man (?-?)

    Malcolm Allbrook


    Part 1: Re-imagining Indigenous Biography

    2.      Biographies of the Dreaming

    Malcolm Allbrook, Tom Griffiths and Shino Konishi

    3.      Lives and lands in exquisite balance; Māori biography in the “now time”

    Arini Loader

    4.      Indigenous biographies without borders

    Alice Te Punga Somerville


    Life Stories

    Maria Welch (1834–1909)

    Mandy Paul


    Ooloogan, George John Noble (c. 1840–1928)

    Laurie Bamblett and Wendy Bunn


    Nangar (c. 1848–1927)

    Laurie Bamblett


    Part 2: Reconstructing Indigenous Lives

    5.      Reframing the Tahitian Archipelago: Insights from the Whole Lives of Tupaia, Purea, and Hitihiti

    Kate Fullagar

    6.      The Life and Afterlife of Yagan: A Corporeal Biography

    Shino Konishi

    7.      Nah Doongh’s Story

    Grace Karskens

    8.      His Walking Feet

    Jill Giese


    Life Stories

    Tommy Chaseland (c. 1800–1869)

    Lynette Russell


    Undelya (Minnie) Apma (c. 1909–1990)

    Kath Apma Travis Penangke


    Lisa Marie Bellear (1961–2006)

    Kim Kruger


    Part 3: The Biographers’ Journeys

    9.      Re-Centring Native American History: Biography Transformed

    Michael A. McDonnell

    10.  Finding Australia’s “Missing” Pacific Women

    Katerina Teaiwa, Nicholas Hoare and Talei Luscia Mangioni

    11.  In conversation about Tracker: Stories of Tracker Tilmouth

    Alexis Wright and Tom Griffiths

    12.  Collective Living-Legacies of Aunty Gladys Elphick and the Council for Aboriginal Women in South Australia

    Natalie Harkin


    Life Stories

    The Wild Australia Show (1892-1893)

    Michael Aird, Lindy Allen, Chantal Knowles, Paul Memmott, Maria Nugent, and Jonathan Richards


    Shino Konishi FAHA is a Yawuru historian and Associate Professor in the School of Indigenous Studies and School of Humanities at the University of Western Australia. She is the author of The Aboriginal Male in the Enlightenment World (2012) and The Lives and Legacies of a Carceral Island: A Biographical History of Wadjemup/Rottnest Island (2023) with Ann Curthoys and Alexandra Ludewig.

    Malcolm Allbrook is managing editor of the Australian Dictionary of Biography, editor of the Australian Journal of Biography and History, and senior lecturer in history at The Australian National University. His most recent book is Family History and Historians in Australia and New Zealand (with Sophie Scott-Brown, 2021).

    Tom Griffiths AO FAHA is Chair of the Editorial Board of the Australian Dictionary of Biography and Emeritus Professor of History at the Australian National University. His books and essays have won prizes in literature, history, science, politics and journalism and include Hunters and Collectors (1996) and The Art of Time Travel: Historians and their Craft (2016).