Their Voice’s become my Voice
Tuesday 25 August
Recently, to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day, AbSec held our Tomorrow’s Generation competition. In line with the Children’s Day theme: ‘We are the Elders of tomorrow, hear our voice’, we were looking to hear from all our gifted Aboriginal children and young people about something that has been passed down from an Elder, that has had a significant impact. The following story was one of the winning entries from Shayla, a proud 13-year-old Birpai girl:
As a proud Birpai, every bit of knowledge is important to me. Some of the stories that are passed down make me proud, sad, happy and angry. As my great-grandmother was a part of the Stolen Generation, she has taught all of us to be strong and to never give up.
She has taught us stories about how our elders would catch food, make shelter, dance, hunt and what games they would play. My great-grandmother has also told me about my great-great-grandmother and my great-great-grandfather, her parents Nanna Pearl and Poppa Goolah. As I have never met my great-great-grandparents, it is important to learn what they did for our tribe and everything they worked hard for.
My great-great-grandfather, who helped cut the road to Lake Cathie, now known as Ocean Drive, is named after a koala “goolah”. My great-great-grandmother was a stay at home housewife, raising all her children and her adopted kids.
At my primary school, I was asked to do the Acknowledgment of Country for assemblies and special events. Every time I was asked, I would use Gathang language, the traditional language of the Birpai people.
I have also been on the news a few times now, most recently was an interview with the ABC. To watch this video it is on YouTube titled “Captain Cook and the Birpai people” with my great-grandmother and mother.
Thank you for listening.