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Aged care resident celebrates indigenous heritage

Steve celebrates his Indigenous family history for NAIDOC Week.

For Allity Riddell Gardens aged care resident Steve, being Indigenous became a part of his identity much later in life.  

After his mother, Eileen, passed away in the 1990s, Steve and his family began to discover their family history.

“My two older sisters knew that we had indigenous heritage but my older brother, younger sister and I weren’t really ever told – I’m not sure why, but that’s just how it was,” Steve said.

“I had always had a bit of an idea, but it wasn’t until mum passed away when I was in my 40s that we were officially told.

“Mum never touched on anything at all and we never lived that life,” he said.

When Steve and his family began to look into their mother’s history as an indigenous woman, they found out that she was a part of the stolen generations.

“My mum grew up in Barrow Creek in the Northern Territory and from there she went into an orphanage in Adelaide.

“For me, it wasn’t until I worked on the wharf in Port Hedland at Western Australia in my 20s that I started to realise I had something in me because of how similar the colour of my skin was to the indigenous fellows I worked with.”

It was Steve’s sister who made the first connections with extended family.

“One of my sisters ended up working in Alice Springs within the community and found a lot out about our family.

“She found different relations that we never realised we had from mum’s side.”

For Steve, events such as NAIDOC Week provide an opportunity to reflect on his own family history and join fellow residents in celebrating indigenous heritage with activities including a visit to a local Kindergarten to create Aboriginal sand artwork together.

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