A Reflection on Racism, Intergenerational Trauma and The Path to Healing Through Education

I’m currently on a journey that has got me thinking about how grateful I am and a sense of optimism for the future. I’m currently at TAFE NSW and I’m doing a Certificate I in Fundamental Aboriginal Languages, an adventure that has become much more than just book learning. It’s a sanctuary of growth, understanding, and healing, guided by the incredible Aunty Beth and Uncle John. Their wisdom not only educates us but heals us, bringing our past together with the hope for our future.

My connection to my heritage comes from the stories of a small country town where my ancestors were born—Mungindi. Despite never having lived there, the tales and yarns shared by my family make it a significant part of my identity. A recent article (image below) brought to my attention by Aunty Beth has shed light on a painful chapter of Mungindi’s history, a stark reminder of the struggles and injustices faced by our people.

(Sensitivity Warning: The image below contains derogatory and racist language, proceed with caution)

Sydney Stock and Station Journal Entry - 6 November 1908

The article recounts a distressing event from the past, where Aboriginal children, upon the directives of the Aborigines Protection Board, were sent to a public school, only to be met with rejection and racism from their peers and the wider community. This act of blatant racism and exclusion is not just a story from the past; it’s a reflection of the ongoing struggle against discrimination and the need for acknowledgment and healing.

To comprehend the depth of the pain and resilience that runs through our veins, we must understand the impact of colonisation on Indigenous peoples. Colonisation was not only a historical event but a devastating process that stripped people of their land, culture, and identity, leading to profound and lasting trauma that transcends generations. This intergenerational trauma manifests in various forms—loss of language and culture, disconnection from land, and ongoing social and economic disparities.

I truly believe the way to reconnect is through education. Since starting on my journey I have had profound healing and empowerment by knowing my cultural knowledge Its wonderful to see students are nurtured by compassionate and understanding educators like Aunty Beth and Uncle John. They offer more than just academic knowledge; they provide a sense of belonging, understanding, and a way to reclaim and celebrate our heritage and identity.

The awful article from Mungindi, as highlighted in the article, is a confronting reminder of the struggles our people have faced. Yet, as Aunty Beth wisely pointed out, the fact that such racism is forever captured in print means it cannot be ignored or forgotten. It’s a call to action for all of us to acknowledge our past, educate ourselves and others, and work towards a future where we have true Reconciliation.

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Let’s show our Indigenous brothers and sisters that we are here for them, we value their Voices and we are committed to continuing the journey towards Reconciliation.

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