Week 3

  • What is your overall reaction to the film?  Did you previously know about the Stolen Generations?
    • The story of the Stolen Generations is gut-wrenching. This is my first time ever hearing about it. I grew up with an Aussie step-dad and just went to Australia in 2015. Although I am not an expert, I thought I had at least a little bit of knowledge on the Aboriginal community. This goes to show how this big part of history has been so incredibly suppressed and how the information I’ve received growing up was one-sided. I was blown away and at the same time, not the least bit surprised.
  • The concept of the Stolen Generations is still controversial in Australia.  Some Australians deny the idea, while others recognize it and agree that these children and their families suffered greatly.  Why do you think people deny this?
    • I believe some Australians deny this because it is too big of a tragedy to face. It is one thing to harm people, but to know that children’s lives were so negatively impacted is another story. Denial is a powerful tool that is used when the consequences seem too much to bear. I think that if people were to acknowledge the Stolen Generations, the flood gates would open for reparations.
  • What do you think has been the impact on the Aboriginal community in Australia?  Do you think it is something that should still be discussed today?
    • Like many indigenous people, Aboriginals are still suffering from the wrongdoings in the past. One of the main impacts that comes to mind is health. Like native Hawaiians who were colonized and experienced trauma, Aboriginals similarly see an indigenous health crisis. I think of epigenetic transgenerational inheritance and how trauma from our past can impact the health of offspring for generations to come. Of course, I think that the Stolen Generations still needs to be talked about. Simply, I think it still needs to be fully acknowledge before anyone can move on or even begin to imagine what a resolution would be.
  • How do you think the history of the Stolen Generations might contribute to people’s experiences today in Australia?
    • I think Aboriginals today and Native Americans have similar paths. Many children were robbed of healthy family situations and an education. Now, as adults, they suffer from a disproportionate amount of illnesses like depression and alcoholism. The lack of opportunities forces them into menial jobs that capitalize or make fun of their cultures. For example, Aboriginals in Sydney are reduced down to selling didgeridoos are the ferry station and Native Americans are forced to work in casinos because of the lack of jobs on their lands.
  • How might you compare this story to what has happened in Hawai`i, Guahan, and other colonized places in the Pacific and Asia?
    • I think there are a lot of similarities to many indigenous cultures that have been affected by colonization/assimilation. They are told who to worship, how to talk, and what to eat. I don’t believe this is specific to Asia and the Pacific; it is worldwide. My best friend’s tutu, tutu Kulani, told me that being Hawaiian growing up was like “being black in the south” (these are her words, not mine). She wasn’t allowed to speak the language and when her grandma would talk in Hawaiian with her friends, tutu Kulani was always told to leave the room. She said Hawaiian was always spoken in a hushed tone, like they were swearing or had something to hide. Similar to Selena’s story, tutu Kulani didn’t give her daughter a Hawaiian name out of fear that it would be used against her. Now, my best friend, Kulani, is named after her tutu so I see that little by little, the Hawaiian culture is more accepted now than it was a generation ago.

 

Image from here

 

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7 thoughts on “Week 3

  1. Lauren,
    I thank you again for you’re comprehensive and completly detailed response. I so love following you down the rabbit hole because you’re able to help me come back out of it – not unscathed.
    your thoughts on health care makes my heart beat faster. I am no authority on the issue, but I do think it’s a discussion we desperately need to continue having .
    Thank you sincerely,
    Sandra

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  2. I think you are right on with your assessment on the Aborigine health disparities and issues associated with historical trauma. I had similar thoughts on this topic. I imagine all indigenous people who have been colonized have similar health outcomes. It’s depressing to think that a group of people can have such a major effect on other groups that it shortens their lifespans and permanently alters their physiology.

    I also liked reading how you connected the experiences of Aborigines to those of Native Americans and Kanaka Maoli. I have observed many cultures that deny their native ties for fear (or shame) of practicing their culture. I’m interested to know if Aborigines are similar and also deny their heritage/culture.

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    1. I have no interactions with Australians, but I read a lot. It is interesting to hear first hand accounts about my understanding of the situation. Thank you adding that piece. It makes sense that similarly affected cultures would act in a similar fashion in response to colonialism.

      And I agree with about why people refuse to acknowledge tragedies such as the stolen generations. I had a friend in college whose ancestors arrived on the Mayflower. His ancestor is the only proven case, written by his own hand, of intentional spreading smallpox to Native Americans via blankets given as gifts. He really struggled with that information and the guilt that he felt from it. He explained how he grandmother never acknowledged that aspect of the ancestor and was happy volunteering at the local history center and talked proudly of her lineage. We all need an identity of some kind.

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  3. Hi Lauren,
    I also had never heard of this before last week. I brought it up in different groups over the weekend and no one else had heard of it either. No. One. It is just blows my mind and completely bewilders me, as you said too, how one-sided history can be. It is truly grotesque knowledge control. Although it is devastating to read of it and watch it through film, I am glad to finally be educated in “real” history.

    I agree that having to acknowledge the Stolen Generations on the whole scope would definitely open the floodgates for reparation but I also wonder what that would look like. For those in Hawaii and the mainland US seeking full reparation, they are seeking the reparation of land. With the Stolen Generations, childhood, innocence, broken families, utter heartbreak are things that cannot be simply given back or returned. People are also quick to throw money at things in order to “fix them”, and sure extra money is usually handy, but still in no way could ever accommodate or undo 60 years of robbing children from their families and homes.

    An interesting point you brought up is epigenetics. In my post I had come from the angle of how this could effect their mental health and that could passed down generation to generation, in more of a socialization process. You brought up the other end of that in discussing the epigenetics aspects which I had not come full circle to consider. Thank you for that!

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  4. Lauren- i wish that i had more deep knowledge on the fact that parent/child separation can cause physical ailments as well as emotional and psychological challenges. If I were to plan my career again with youth i would have went straight into child psychology so that i could parallel some of these points that you mentioned and have the background to advocate for youth even stronger.

    Did you have a favorite place when you went to Australia?

    I actually loved Sydney(I’m typically not super into cities) and the Great Barrier Reef was outrageous!

    Did you get to hang out with any of the aboriginals. We did on our trip and they were super dynamic , very proud and strong in their cultural and social differences. We did not however go deep in the outback so we may have gotten the experience of the “colonized” Aboriginals. Either way it was and incredible honor just to hang out with and be exposed to them!!!!

    Thanks for what you wrote!

    Josh

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  5. I have to agree with Katie about the reparation issue; it would be interesting; how do you compensate families for such a heinous act? However, I am of the opinion that acknowledgment and acceptance of the truth of these events is a starting point to any sort of healing and forgiveness process. Sometimes sincerely seeking and asking forgiveness is the only compensation that will suffice as no adequate remedy exists. There are so many horrors humans have inflicted upon one another. A course focused on all these historical atrocities should be mandatory in our schools so the next generations of our global communities always remember that there is a very fine line between racism and tolerance.

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  6. Nice reflection, Lauren. yes, the similarities among indigenous people worldwide is startling once you begin to explore. Interestingly, though, it is also a connection that people share across vast continents. I believe that through global communication and interactions, we will learn more about each others truths and perhaps come together as one voice for indigenous populations.

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