A NYOONGAR visitor shared stories of her life with Year 9 students at Peter Moyes Anglican Community School in Mindarie this month.
From the Yuat tribe, Sheila Humphries is a successful artist as well as a wife and mother of eight.
She shared her personal accounts and stories of the Stolen Generation with students, including her childhood at the St Joseph’s Orphanage in New Norcia.
Her talk explained life in the orphanage, the heartache experienced, the challenges met and the history of the Stolen Generation.
Although she was part of that, her paintings and personal stories reflect healing, reconciliation and faith.
Year 9 students Angelique O’Farrell and Simran Vyas found Mrs Humphries’ talk emotionally moving.
“I could feel her pain and sorrow as she spoke,” Angelique said.
“The stories she told were truly shocking. It really had an effect on me and had me thinking about how lucky I am to be with my family.”
Simran said she could see herself in Mrs Humphries’ story and was impressed by her bravery.
“Although we have had very different experiences I felt I could relate to some of her story because I also experienced the loss of a family member at a young age and have coloured skin,” Simran said.
Mrs Humphries encouraged students not to be afraid of Aboriginal people, as a way of consciously contributing to reconciliation in Australia.
“Just say hello to Aboriginal people,” she said.
“Lead by example and show others that it is ok.
“There are lots of people who accept us, but lots who do not. It hurts. Both sides need to meet in the middle.”
The visit was organised through the company Urban Indigenous, which aims to share Aboriginal stories, address reconciliation and close the gap strategies, educate children about Aboriginal history and culture, and challenge stereotypes.
The August 4 talk was part of the school’s Naidoc Week activities.