Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander military histories uncovered
Tuesday, 26 April 2016
From left: Professor Mick Dodson AM, General David Morrison AO, and Associate Professor Noah Riseman. Credit: Craig Greene (Serving Our Country)
Australian of the Year General David Morrison AO was on hand to launch the latest book co-authored by Associate Professor Noah Riseman.
As Anzac Day took place, we reflected on the contributions of Australian men and women to the country’s defence, including the little known participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service members.
Associate Professor Noah Riseman from ACU’s School of Arts, one of Australia’s specialists on Indigenous military service, has co-authored (with Richard Trembath) a book examining the experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service men and women in the post-Second World War era. The book examines what motivated Indigenous people to sign up, their experiences of racism in the armed forces, the roles of Indigenous servicewomen, the challenges in returning to civilian life and the role of the Australian Defence Force in promoting Reconciliation.
Defending Country: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Military Service Since 1945 was launched on Friday by one of the most respected voices in military service: General David Morrison AO, former Chief of Army and the 2016 Australian of the Year.
A/Prof Riseman said he hopes having someone of the standing of General Morrison to launch Defending Country will help shine the light on an often overlooked part of Australian military history.
“General Morrison has a consistent track record promoting diversity and inclusion within the Army and Australia more generally, and we are honoured that he has come to launch our book,” A/Prof Riseman.
“Learning about the history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander military service makes us rethink common assumptions and misperceptions about the military, Indigenous Australians, Reconciliation and the Anzac mythology.”
Defending Country: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Military Service Since 1945 is the third book authored by Dr Riseman on the topic of Indigenous military history. A Boston native, A/Prof Riseman studied at Georgetown University before completing a PhD in Indigenous History at the University of Melbourne, joining ACU in 2008. Riseman is now also researching the history of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex participation in the Australian military.