A FAMILY HISTORY PIECE.
Story so far:
I was born in 1968 and grew up in white middle class Australia.
When I was 18, I found out about my Aboriginality from my best friend who was a teachers aid at Redfern Public School. She had been chatting with mum.
I asked mum about it, she told me “not to tell anyone.” I thought she was ashamed.
I went to my Nan and asked her. She told me “not to tell anyone,” and got out the photo albums.
Every time I visited Nan, we would sit for hours and she would tell me the stories of the olden days. She grew up in the bush on a farm in the Nattai Valley, NSW. Her tales were filled with her recollection of growing up. There was always a significant account of the connection between the earth, the animals and the elements.
I never knew my Great Nanna.
My Great Great Nanna was a ward of the state. Her parents died when she was around 7 and she was institutionalised with the stolen generation. Later she became a domestic servant.
I wonder if she told her children, “don’t tell anyone.”
After reading the links below, I understand why you “didn’t tell anyone.” It was driven by fear of prejudice and racism. This is how culture is lost. The ripple effect continues from one generation to another. I wonder how many other Australians are unaware of their ancestry because of this?
I spent my life looking for answers. I studied lots of different religions. None of them ever clicked. I joined FB and started following Indigenous sites and studied all sorts of things, Then I met Helen. She has become my elder and is teaching me about culture and history. At times she must think I’m a twit. I’m a youngun with so much more to learn. My thirst is unquenchable. She got me started on these two links. I study them. I re-read them. It keeps me grounded.
The journey continues. My passion for politics means that it is bittersweet. Once your eyes open up to the truths of our Great Southern Land, you’re never the same again. Enlightened and alive in spirit. Thank you Nan, thank you mum and thank you Helen.