Descendent of Stolen Generation
SORRY Day for Mossman woman Jayne Fejo is more than acknowledging the Stolen Generation, it is about remembering her family’s story.
As a descendant of the Stolen Generation, Jayne describes her family and her life growing up as one of not belonging.
‘‘As kids we do projects on family history but mine stops at mum,’’ she said.
‘‘We were born to this country, born to this land, but we can’t go past one generation.
‘‘Although I was born and raised in Adelaide, I was advised by local Kaurna people I was an intruder on their land, I am not welcome there but I wasn’t welcome where I came from, because I was not born there.’’
Jayne’s family story starts in 1945, in Daly River when her mother, then aged three, was removed from her family by the Government and even separated from her twin brother, to stop them talking ‘‘twin language’’, in the name of ‘‘assimilation’’.
She was sent to Croker Island, near Darwin before being moved to South Australia and in 1966 Jayne was born to her Aboriginal mother and Danish father, who worked away.
‘‘Mum tried to see me in the nursery but they would advise mum I was dead and there were no black babies in the nursery,’’ she said.
‘‘It wasn’t until dad came on the fourth day and said, ‘That is my child and that is her mum, she is allowed to see her’
‘‘If he had not come I would’ve been taken away.
‘‘ I don’t remember dad and mum together, I had a step-dad who was abusive, one time I was hospitalised at 14, they took me away from my home because of my connection with my mum.’’
Authorities removed Jayne from her mother’s care and sent her to live with her father, who would spend two weeks away at a time for work.
Jayne decided last year to leave Adelaide for Darwin to find her family but ended up finding a husband and relocating to Mossman.
‘‘The only family I know are who mum considers brothers and sisters, those raised on Croker Island in Darwin,’’ she said.
Jayne’s mother managed to track down her twin brother but he had already died, although she did meet his twin sons and in 1980 they found her mother.
‘‘ She was in a six- bedroom nursing ward and she walked into the room and identified her mother after 35 years apart and her mum recognised her,’’ Jayne said.
‘‘She said, ‘My baby is finally home’ and passed away two weeks later.’’