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Launch of oral history project detailing histories of Aboriginal elders
15/09/1999 10:30 AM
Stories of 11 Aboriginal elders launched today will help pass on an important part of the State’s history to Aboriginal children and the wider community.
The oral history project,
Messages for our children: A Selection of Oral Histories from Aboriginal Elders
, launched by the Governor, His Excellency Major General Michael Jeffery AC MC, is a project of the International Year of Older Persons.
Seniors Minister Rhonda Parker said the project detailed the histories of six male and five female elders from the Kimberleys to the Goldfields and the South-West.
“The elders expressed a strong desire for the Aboriginal language and cultural lore to be handed down to their children and grandchildren to give them pride in themselves and their spiritual heritage,” Mrs Parker said.
“The messages also emphasise the importance of families and communities, the need to help each other and the importance of respect for elders.
“Many recall learning Aboriginal lore and culture and the joy of hearing their own language spoken and sung.
“Despite many difficulties in life, the elders had the courage and determination to emerge with great dignity and wisdom and above all, a sense of hope for future generations.”
Aboriginal Affairs Minister Dr Kim Hames said the oral histories project had the potential to bring lasting benefit to Western Australia.
“By recording the stories and wisdom of the elders in their own words as well in printed form, we are ensuring that an important part of Aboriginal history is retained,” he said.
The project has been funded jointly by the Office of Seniors’ Interests and the Aboriginal Affairs Department.
The launch was held in Kings Park which was one of the main camps of the Aboriginal tribal leader Yallagonga, a starting point for a significant initiation route and a traditional trading place for red ochre.
Booklets are available from the librarian at Department of Aboriginal Affairs on 9235 8138.
Media contacts: Owen Cole (Mrs Parker’s office) 9481 7810
Caroline Lacy (Dr Hames’ office) 9424 7450