Bob has struggled to let go of the resentment he feels towards the government, church, and society for the role they played in depriving him of his culture.¹
Bob will never know the full extent of the cultural heritage that was stolen from him when his grandfather was taken from an Aboriginal mission and placed in a boys’ home at the age of 12, before he inherited the cultural traditions and knowledge due to him.
What Koori culture Bob has inherited was intertwined with a culture of heavy drinking and smoking marijuana. “The more I did get into that drinking and smoking pot, the more culture it took away from me,” he says sadly.
Bob describes his personal challenge to fit into current society while maintaining his Koori identity. There’s a lot more family division in modern culture, he says. “We have been directed into working, getting a job, looking after your family… so therefore, your houses are smaller, you can’t have as much family around.”
Bob explains that moving forward isn't about what people can do to fix the problems. Rather, he says, it’s about listening in order to understand the hurt and the things that have caused it. “Forget trying to implement reconciliation,” he says. “Live it”.
Stop and think: is your identity secure?
How would you define yourself if your nationality, your language, your spiritual beliefs and your cultural practices (football, family bbq’s, Christmas celebrations) were taken away?
Due to colonisation many Indigenous people have lost knowledge of their traditional beliefs and way of life, social structures and even their language. These things play a big role in helping us define our identity. Without them, people can struggle to form a sense of who they are.