Day of reflection

Aboriginal elder Dorothy Getta with Moorditj Koort administration officer and granddaughter Helen Walley-Stack. Picture: Elle Borgward d401048
Aboriginal elder Dorothy Getta with Moorditj Koort administration officer and granddaughter Helen Walley-Stack. Picture: Elle Borgward d401048

It was a sign of healing.

But while steps have been taken towards reconciliation and mutual respect, there’s a long road ahead to combat Aboriginal disadvantage in Kwinana.

Ms Getta (69) was taken from her family aged six and placed in a mission home in Kellerberrin.

Her parents worked nearby, clearing land and shearing for local landowners, but while she could see her mother from the mission, the little girl was only able to visit her on Sundays.

After 12 months, the mission broke up, her family moved on and Ms Getta went with them.

She was separated from her family for the better part of one year ” a year stolen.

Others she knows were taken for good.

‘In my family, three cousins on mum’s side were taken from their parents and put in the New Norcia mission,’ she said.

‘On my dad’s side, a lot of cousins were sent there.

‘I’ve heard bad stories they weren’t getting fed properly.’

Though the horror of the Stolen Generations is fading over time, the loss of culture is having an impact on the next generation.

‘We lost our culture when they took us away, we weren’t able to speak our own language, to be blackfellas,’ she said.

Ms Getta said Sorry Day was an appropriate time to reflect on issues still facing indigenous people in Kwinana, such as housing shortages, a need for educational funding, a ‘fair go’ for Aboriginal staff by employers and diversionary programs.

Ms Getta said more activities for indigenous youth, including sports and implementing the famed Noongar Patrol in the area, would help get local young people on the right track.

‘I don’t think we get a fair go in life, we’ve had to battle for a lot of years now,’ she said. ‘We’re not even in the constitution…. what are we?’