Diane Robin Bell's first book, sharing her observations of Aboriginal women's lives, was written after several years spent in the Northern Territory conducting fieldwork with her six-year old and eight-year old children in toe.
The author, feminist and anthropologist will be recognised for this work, alongside a vast collection of published works, with an Order of Australia medal.
She will be one of 19 people in the ACT to receive a Medal of the Order this Queen's Birthday weekend.
Emeritus Professor Bell's journey to become an emeritus professor with the Australian National University was not the linear trajectory often cited for an honorary professor.
Having left school at 16 years old, Emeritus Professor Bell put herself through night school while living in Melbourne with two babies in the 1970s.
After graduating from Monash University and completing a PhD at the ANU in 1981, she went on to establish an anthropological consultancy in Canberra.
Invited to take up the Chair of Religion, Economic Development and Social Justice at the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts, she moved to the United States in 1989, where she went on to teach at George Washington University.
In the US during 9/11, Dr Bell said she witnessed the "closing of the American mind", which resulted in her relocation back to Australia.
She has since worked as an activist in South Australia, making submissions on the environmental impact of the Murray-Darling Basin plan and ran as an independent for Alexander Downer's former seat of Mayo.
Her professional career has focused primarily on telling the stories of Indigenous people in Australia, the US and Canada.
She said it was a delight to be recognised for her literature, which includes both nonfiction and fiction.
"I've always written out situations," she said.
"I'll have heard something, experienced something, been reflecting on something been involved in some social justice action and thing why was this import and what action might be taken?
"It's a process of thinking things through and it's also a way of entertaining my friends."
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