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OurStory: Six Sisters of the Stolen Generation

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10 May 2012

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The six aboriginal Australian Warrell sisters are part of the generation of stolen children who were taken from their parents and raised in a Benedictine mission to alienate them from their indigenous culture in an attempt to better assimilate them into white society.

Together the sisters laugh and joke, but this belies the horrors of their the time spent in the mission; which we learn throughout the documentary in personal interviews. Constantly physically and emotionally abused a contemporary reading of the mission sounds more like a child slave labor camp than an 'orphanage'. But of course, it wasn't an orphanage, because the parents of the children were still alive though they were not allowed to see their parents at all.

From hearing their tragic stories we take the Warrell sisters back to the mission that denied them their childhood and culture, some for the first time, and find that it is now a tourist museum. To our shock, however, the perspective of history that is portrayed in the mission museum is not the story that the Warrell sisters have told us, but an institutionalized 'white-washed' version for the many tourists and school-children that frequent it. When contacted about this inconsistency, the Benedictine community just don't want to know.

It seems that the tragic childhood that the Warrell sisters remember may be lost to history; recorded and publicized perhaps only in documentaries such as this.

This video was made by John McMullan, as a lecturer of Murdoch University.

 

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