National Museum Expands Academic Frontiers

National Indigenous Times (Australia), March 8, 2006


The unknown stories of intermarriage, domesticity and the acts of cooperation – and conflict – that form the global frontier experience will be revealed in a ground-breaking conference at the National Museum of Australia in August.

Narrating Frontier Families in Australia and North America on 4-5 August brings together leading international scholars to explore frontiers stretching from America and the Arctic Circle to Australia and Fiji.

“Television programs like Frontier House and now Outback House show a public hunger for historical insight, yet we know so little about the families of the real frontier,” said Professor Ann McGrath, former National Museum curator, now Director of the ANU’s Australian Centre for Indigenous History.

“Here’s a chance to hear startling insider stories about the women, their families and the diversity of frontier experiences. They stretch well beyond any TV show or what we read about violent frontier conflict between Aboriginal people and settlers or cowboys and Indians.”

Key speakers at the Canberra symposium include Professor Clara Sue Kidwell, Director of Native American Studies at the University of Oklahoma, on the southern Choctaw Indian women as cultural mediators; Professor Nancy Shoemaker, leading historian of the Cherokee and native American women, on the American whaling industry in the Pacific; clinical psychologist Michael Kral on rising suicide rates among Canadian Inuit; and Professor Jay Gitlin, Deputy Director of Yale’s Lamar Centre for the Study of Frontiers and Borders, and a professional musician, on frontier music and art. Australian speakers include Dr Tom Griffiths with tales from Antarctica, Dr Gordon Briscoe on half-caste policy and Professor Ann Curthoys on frontier nation-building.

Subjects Covered: diversity training, education

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