From today’s SMH:
‘Larissa Behrendt, who saw Dr Sykes as a stepmother, said she would be remembered as a strong advocate in the Aboriginal civil rights movement and for her commitment to indigenous education.
She stepped into the public domain as an afro-wearing activist known as Bobbi, when she was arrested at the Aboriginal tent embassy in Canberra in 1972. She was the first executive secretary there, and worked as an adviser in Aboriginal health and education.
Dr Sykes became the first black Australian to attend Harvard University in the 1980s, which Professor Behrendt said encouraged her own studies there in the 1990s.
Professor Behrendt also said Dr Sykes would be remembered as a writer and a poet. She wrote a three-part autobiography –Snake Cradle in 1997, Snake Dancing in 1998, and Snake Circlein 2000 – which included an account of being pack-raped by white men, the resulting birth of her son when she was 17 and the trial of her attackers.’