The Consequences Of Claire Henty-Gebert's Social And Cultural Identity

1272 Words 6 Pages
In the 1900s thousands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were dispossessed and put into missions. The act of dispossession is to forcibly remove an Indigenous person from their land, this is what happened to these children, but not only were they removed from their land, but also their families. This was extremely harmful to the children as although they gained a higher education than many other Indigenous people they missed out on learning about their cultural heritage, which is a fundamental part of Indigenous identity. Claire Henty-Gebert’s social and cultural identities have been negatively affected through the removal of her from her family and the moving around she had to do as she grew up in the mission she was placed …show more content…
She was unable to talk or learn about her culture, which is extremely important to Indigenous peoples, it was forbidden for her to talk in her native language and as she was separated from her family she could not learn about her ancestors or of the knowledge her mother could have passed on to her. Though this was not upsetting to her when she was a child, once she was reunited with some of her family and realized what she had missed out on she was extremely disappointed (Henty-Gebert, 2005). Not only did she not know anything about her culture but now she could not pass it onto her children or grandchildren. In the missions the children were not allowed to speak their native language, if they did they would get punished; this punishment could be anything from shaving the child’s head to denying them food (Drayton, 2011 as cited by “Missions”, 2012). Not only did the mission rob Claire of her cultural identity, but also her children and grandchildren’s. Claire’s family was not the only family affected either, it is thought that one in three children were taken (specific numbers are hard to confirm due to the bad condition of Government records) (Racism. No way, 2013). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders would not have had any children to pass their knowledge onto, this may mean that important pieces of Indigenous history are lost forever. Culture is extremely significant to Aboriginal people, it gives them an important connection to their community and helps build the children’s resilience (“Aboriginal children”, 2009). The Australian Bureau of Statistics found that Indigenous people that speak their native language and lived in rural areas were far more likely to have a far better wellbeing than those that do not speak their native language, though unfortunately only eight per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders speak another language at home

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