Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Appointment (02/09/12)
TITLE: Beware the Black Suits and Shiny Cars
By Helen Curtis
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I was going to imagine the heart-wrenching agony of having your children forcibly removed from your care by well-meaning white Christian men, their black suits speckled with the ochre-red dirt of your home.
I was going to describe the feelings of the children, thrown into shiny black cars and driven away from mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles, grandmothers and grandfathers.
I was going to address the life-long implications of looking out of the rear window and seeing your mother pelting the road with her bare hands, screaming for your return. Of being forced to forget everything you've learnt, your culture and language and history, gone, beaten out of you until you resemble a "good little white boy or girl," and are 'fit' to join in with society. The pain of never knowing your parents, your kin, your heritage.
I was going to... but no matter how hard I try to imagine, I just can not do them justice. How can I, a white Australian mother living in this era, possibly begin to imagine the depth of emotional and mental anguish these precious Australians sufferred for almost a century, beginning in the late 1800s?
I suppose in their defence, these men and women thought the role of their appointment as "Native Welfare Officers" was to save the children of mixed heritage, to give them more than they would ever receive from their perceivably poverty-stricken families; an education, a faith in God, civility and 'proper' lodgings. Never mind love. That was unimportant.
They thought they were acting in the best interest of the children.
They thought they would be remembered in history as saviours of the Aboriginal race.
They thought wrong.
"I had never seen my mother in my life. My life in the Christian mission completely cut my ties to her. It did not even let me know who she was, let alone tell me if she missed me. I did not know that my mother was an Aboriginal mother." No name supplied.(1)
(1) Read more: http://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/politics/stolen-generations-stories.html#ixzz1mY6TmKIx
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