Home to Country

So here I sit, in my house in the remote community of Amata in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara lands. I am an Aboriginal woman. I am technically an Anangu woman; but its more complicated than that. I have a black father and white mother – a father with no connection to culture and a curious sense of agression and defence about the whole issue. My grandmother, in the days before her death, told me of her removal from Ernabella community when she was 5 years old. She was the daughter of Ivy Baker and the product of an encounter between Ivy and a stockman. And that everything I thought I knew about my great-grandparents was that of her foster family. That’s where the trail ends. I had always known that I was Aboriginal but now I knew that what we now know of as the Stolen Generation had affected my family. My father had always shut down any talk of language groups and family ties, perhaps it was too painful. There are countless Bakers in the APY… perhaps they are my family. What I do know is; This is my home. This is my country. When I first came to the APY as an adult, pregnant with my second baby, I stood on the red dirt and sobbed. I was so overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by the 60,000 years of culture that hung over me like a mist. Overwhelmed by my painful disconnection from that culture. Overwhelmed by how much I desperately wanted to immerse myself in the land, language and culture so that I could seek to try and teach my children their language, their stories, their culture and art so that it was not lost forever. So while I come into this community as an Aboriginal woman, I am acutely aware that my fair skin and lack of connection to culture and language mean that I come in, essentially, as Pirinpa – whitefulla. And I need to let the community get to know me in their own time. So I look forward to documenting our journey here. The challenges and the wonder. I’ll introduce my family; my husband and two children, and our two dogs who are both as dumb as box of rocks. I want to examine the disadvantage here in the lands, and discuss issues of race and privilege. I want to discuss motherhood, art, culture and why I’ve named my blog after a mysterious dingo, allegedly named Gerald who appears out of nowhere. This is my journey.

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14 thoughts on “Home to Country

  1. Hi liz, thanks for sharing the beginning of this journey for you and your family. I worked in aboriginal housing for 20yrs, and housing issues on the Lands were the most challenging for the whole 20+yrs…and it continues to be. I travelled up there 20yrs ago…and loved the people and the country…had never been snuggled by so many camp dogs (it was winter). I look forward to your next experiences..Lana

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