Stolen Generations

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Personal Statement

I want people to know what happened to us old people when we were young. It's a story that should be shared. There are Indigenous and non-Indigenous people who do not know what happened back in the old days and how the Government back then treated full blooded Aboriginals with children who had lighter skins. I am not bitter about what happened to me. In the end I have my family and I can still speak my language.

Transcript

Nita Marshall

Duration: 09:51

My name Nita Marshall, or Nita Flack.  My father – I don’t know whether he’s my father – but they named me after him because from the station, you know, he used to be living in the station.  They called me Nita Flack.
I’m 70, 80?  Eighty-six.  I’m from La Grange, Bidyadanga.  But the white people call it La Grange, you know, and we call it Bidyadanga.  I’m from there.  My language group is Karajarri.

[Nita’s mother worked on Anita Downes station]
She used to work in the station.  My mother could ride a horse and everything and break in a horse, yeah.

[Nita’s Father]
Well, I don’t know, he white man, he come from any country.  My black man, black, half-caste flock, George, he’s from La Grange. One day my mother married him, but he a stepfather, not proper daddy.  Proper daddy was a white man.

[Being Taken]
Oh, taken away, too cruel.  They pick us up, police pick us up.  We tried to run away but they had a police boy that knew every angle of the Bidyadanga area, you know.  And they went chasing out everyone but no one tell him anything – they took us away. 
I was only, what, I was six years old I think, six, a little girl then.  We were crying, “Mummy, mummy.”  No good. White man take us but nobody explained.  But we’re not shamed.  White man was stole us away and they take us away and being cruel to us, take us away and halfway chuck away mummy.  Halfway road, chuck the mother out and take the kids away.  Well, that’s cruel, and they used to tell me, “You mustn’t tell ‘em,” you know, “White men like that”. What for?, I tell them, because they throw my mother away. I tell em. I don’t care. I tell em straight. I don’t want to hide ‘em away.”
Nita and her cousin Florrie were taken at the same time
Yeah, they took us two together, but they separated us in a way.  I don’t know where they took her because she got sick, and they took me to, where that, Sister Kate, yeah, Sister Kate’s home.

[Nita was first taken by ship to Perth which was 1000 kms away from her home]
[She stayed at Sister Kate’s home for 1 year then was moved to Moola Bulla station]
Yeah, I went back; they took us back.  It was all right, but lonely, you know.  We cry for home so they send us back to Moola Bulla.  Still a different place – not even home.  Oh, we felt sorry but we can’t do nothing.  We used to sit down there and me and another girl we spoke the same language, and they used to listen to us and we’d get in the back there and talk to one another in the language.  They used to laugh at us there and we was funny looking people, funny speaking, you know.  And we sort of grow out of it, you know, but I still knew my language when I came back.  I still could talk, you know, to my people.
Other girls, other girls was in that hostel where we were, they couldn’t speak.  I don’t know if they were frightened of the white people.  I tell them with my language, “I’m not frightened of no white man. Black fella language, it’s my language, I’ll talk.”  White man can talk his language, I can talk mine too.  No different.

[Growing Up on Moola Bulla Station]
Well, I reckon it was terrible when I in my childhood, terrible… We used to get up six o’clock in the morning they wake us up.  We got to get up, work, lots of work.  We were washing up plates and washing clothes for kids and cleaning up, like anybody else. 
Yeah, I got good memories of that place.  I can see that. We used to go down the river and come back into the station, walk around all over the station,with all the kids we had nothing. We never got anything what they get, nice things. We only rubbish people.
Tommy Woodland, he used to be Moola Bulla boss, welfare or whatever he was, manager. We all of us kids, girls in the dormitory. Boys in the dormitory. We weren’t allowed to talk to the boys – we get into trouble.
Strap. Take em and whip my… black and blue…
I don’t know what wrong by talking to one another.  White people are funny people, you know.
Yeah, we miss our family but what can we do?  They can’t take us there.  This girl’s husband was only a little fellow. They bring him, little one, cruel, you know, taken away from mother, baby time, yeah. We cry for them, we get sorry , we see little, little one.  Yeah, we look after them when all the big people go to work. They make bottle for them, we give them bottle.

[Visits from Nita’s mother]
My mother used to come there see me, sit down with me little while and we work, and she used to come, when she used to come, she used to talk to me with language, well I kept that language then, all the time. Was alright seeing family again. Cause they didn’t ever used to allow us to see family.  Only they come for a little while, talk to us and go home.
Nita worked at Anita Downes station when she finished school.
She didn’t receive any pay for her work.
After school we left and worked for station.  We went and washed clothes for boys and help in the kitchen, ordinary job, you know.  Yeah, hard work, alright.  If we don’t do the right thing we get into trouble, and I was teaching then after that. Teaching kids.  And I went to Broome but I had married then in Moola Bulla first, and then my husband went back that way then.  But they wouldn’t let us go anywhere unless we was married.
Nita’s relationship with her grandchildren
Oh, we tell them story about taking us away and they’re lucky, our kids, grandkids, because they with us. We had … they take us away before. They ask question, “What wrong they take us away?” well, we got no answer for them.

END TRANSCRIPT

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