Huggins, Rita Cynthia
Rita Cynthis Huggins's mother was Rose, a Bidjara-Pitjara woman and her father was Albert Holt, son of a Yuri woman. Rose's mother was named Lucy Conway from the Maranoa River and Rita had a white father whose name she did not know. Rita was born in the land of the Bidjara-Pitjara people and at an early age, she was taken under the Aborigines Protection Act from her country to Cherbourg Aboriginal Reserve. Although times were harsh Rita and her family found some happiness in those years.
In the 1960s, Rita, a single mother was living in Brisbane when Aboriginal politics began to bring changes for the rights of Aboriginal people. Events such as the Freedom Ride and the 1967 Referendum were on the political agenda. Rita's desire was to make life better for herself and her people and she became more active in the Aboriginal community helping her people. Over the years Rita's main interests were her family and standing up for her people's rights and she was an important role model to an entire generation of younger black women. Rita is also the mother of historian, writer and academic Jackie Huggins (q.v.).
Rita will always be remembered as a well-respected member of both the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal community. Thousands attended her funeral and it is testimony to her standing in the Aboriginal community and beyond. She was referred to as 'one who possessed the courage of a warrior and was a woman of presence, passion and dignity'.
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