Sister Kate’s land allocated for healing

Angela Ryder, who was part of the Stolen Generation, is offering language and cultural support through the Langford Aboriginal Association. Picture: Marcelo Palacios       
Angela Ryder, who was part of the Stolen Generation, is offering language and cultural support through the Langford Aboriginal Association. Picture: Marcelo Palacios       

Hundreds of children with families were removed from them and put into the home; some have been reunited with their families but for many, the fellow children at Sister Kate�s became their family.

Tjalaminu �TJ� Mia was placed in Sister Kate�s as a young child and is now leading the charge for former �homies� as she calls them, to return to healing at the site.

This return to culture, language and land is the mantra for her as a respected elder now and she hopes to develop further programs.

A plot of land next to the original home has been designated as a place of healing where programs will be run to aid human rights, healing and connection, the elder said.

The Brotherhood of Saint Laurence has also helped by funding the Hippy program which involves Home, Intervention Program, Parents and Youngsters which was developed in Israel and adapted for families in Western Australia.

Armadale and Gosnells have been the test sites for the Hippy program, which TJ says has been overwhelmingly successful so far.

�We are trying to develop cultural empowerment and unity,� she said.

In partnership with Angela Ryder at the Langford Aboriginal Association, language classes are being offered to locals as well as cultural support.

For Angela, who was removed from her family and placed in Wandering and Roelands Missions, that impact of removal from home and family has had a huge impact.

�The sense of loss of language, culture and connections from the age of 8-12, those formative years is palpable,� she said. �When you return home it might be different to when you left and this is also a grief issue.

�There is always something missing.�

The National Empowerment program is another project for Aboriginal people in Northam and Toodyay.

�We want empowerment run by Aboriginal people for Aboriginal people, we don�t want programs run by white people with Aborigines in lesser roles anymore,� TJ said.

�We have to break the chains and grow the spirit. Aboriginal people are dealing with �sorry�, high unemployment, low education rates, poverty cycles, drugs and alcohol to numb the pain and high rates of incarceration.

�Couple that with an inherited �soul sickness� in society and family break down and incarceration and it�s not hard to see why there is hardly any light at the end of the tunnel.�

TJ said even as an elder she is between two worlds and for Aboriginal youth that feeling �is even more so�.

�It�s too much, no wonder they choose suicide as the last resort.

�Kids between 12-17 years find the world hard anyway, let alone the inherited �problems� Aboriginal youth have.�

Tjalaminu Mia is a wise soul. Her work is compelling and producing positive results.

�We want kids to stand up and say I have a foot in both worlds.

�I have cultural pride and identity, my people are my country.

�This is my belonging.�