NAIDOC Week: Collection Talk

NAIDOC Week: Collection Talk
Talks / Lecture

Recording date: 
5 July 2016

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff members Shannon Sutton, John Morseu and Nicolette Suttor share collection items that have special meaning for them.

NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by Australians from all walks of life.

Transcript

Transcript of NAIDOC Week Collection Talk

Speakers: Margy Burns (MB), Female voice (F), Nicolette Suttor (N), Male voice (M), Paul Sinclair (P), Bentley James (B), Shannon Sutton (S), John Morseu (J), Audience (A)

Location: National Library of Australia

Date: 05/07/2016

MB:     ... three of our indigenous colleagues. It’s become customary for people like me to begin proceedings by acknowledging country and elders. To make this acknowledgement respectfully, sincerely and meaningfully can sometimes sound like a recitation of something habitual however well meant. I’m ambivalent about this familiarity, it’s a great achievement that acknowledgement has now become an expectation but I’m old enough to remember when standing for the national anthem before a cinema screening was also habitual and was regarded with a lack of engagement by some ... indeed the films I went to many ... in the audience. So when we acknowledge country and prior occupation it should never become a tired required statement, it should have real meaning, it should cause us to truly pause and reflect. We’re all fortunate to live in Canberra, a capital city where the footprints of indigenous people from centuries ago are still evident on the land if we have eyes to see them. There are scarred trees in suburban gardens in school playgrounds in some suburbs, we can see rock art at Yankee Hat, about an hour’s drive away. As we walk across the rich grasslands approaching Yankee Hat there is a strong sense of Aboriginal presence in the landscape.

The pesky annual influx of Bogong months to the high country that is Canberra should remind us that Aboriginal people travelled to these lands from many places to collect the estivating moths, to grind them and cook them, to share them at feasts and celebrations of culture. So as we look out of the windows onto the vista of a beloved bush capital let us all acknowledge that indeed we are living on Aboriginal land, let us sincerely be grateful for the centuries of indigenous custodianship of the lands which now form our nation, let us acknowledge that this is a strong and continuing culture and let us truly acknowledge the elders who have passed on their culture and those who are now and will become elders. In this spirit I welcome all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who join us here today and pay my respects.

Today in celebration of NAIDOC Week you’re going to hear short presentations by three of the Library’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff about collections that have special meaning for them. Before I introduce them let me say that in the last five years NLA has increased its employment of Indigenous staff from only 0.6% to 2.1%. As a small Canberra-based agency this is an achievement we’re proud of and we couldn’t have done it without the centralised Australian Public Service Commission Pathways program, a service which supports recruitment of Indigenous graduates service-wide. NLA took our first Pathways graduate in 2010, and while not all our indigenous staff have come through Pathways, I commend the Commission for maintaining this service. But it’s not just about meeting an employment target, the Library is an extraordinarily rich repository of materials recording Indigenous peoples, cultures and histories as well as centuries of encounters between our first nation peoples with European expeditioners, occupiers, settlers and now us. If the Library is to be a proper custodian of this material our workforce must include empowered and supported indigenous staff. Non-Indigenous Library staff have learned a great deal from our indigenous colleagues, and as you hear John, Nicolette and Shannon speak today I’m sure you’ll have a sense of how much our colleagues have given to NLA.

So without further ado let me introduce them. And they're going to speak in the order in which they joined the Library so the first speaker will be Nicolette Suttor who joined the Library in 2013 after completing studies in Japanese at Macquarie University and completing a Graduate Diploma of Education at the University of Technology in Sydney. Nicolette has found her vocation as a cataloguer and is currently studying for a masters degree in library and information studies at Charles Sturt. Nicolette cares for her mother and has a strong personal commitment to advocacy and support for people living with disabilities.

The next speaker will be Shannon Sutton, who started working at the Library in 2014 after an earlier career as an archaeologist working for government and in a consultancy business. Shannon studied archaeology at both ANU and Monash and is now also undertaking library studies, through New South Wales TAFE in his case. Because of his strong personal interest in genealogy Shannon makes a really important contribution to the Library’s Family History Team within Reader Services.

And the final speaker will be John Morseu, our first Torres Strait Islander staff member so far as I’m aware. John came to the Library last year after completing studies at James Cook majoring in history and Australian indigenous studies. John previously worked in educational outreach inspiring high school students to consider tertiary studies. John now works in Oral History and has this year resumed his masters studies at James Cook researching Torres Strait Island dance traditions. So now please welcome Nicolette.

[Applause]

N:        Hello, I’m Nicolette Suttor and first I’d like to show you this video.

[VIDEO STARTS]

[Music]

P:         I learnt to fly into Milingimbi and from there we’re going to take the boat ‘round this way to Wooderi.

Hi, my name is Paul Sinclair, recently I was invited by members of the Crocodile Island Ranger program to visit their remote island in Australia’s Arnhem Land region and learn more about their program and what it’s trying to achieve. Strap in because this is one unbelievable ride. The Yan-nhangu people are the Aboriginal traditional owners of Mooroonga Island and the surrounding area known as the Crocodile Islands.

B:         [Speaks in Aboriginal language]

P:         Bentley James has learnt the local language during his years living on the island and is one of the people passionate about continuing in the program into the future. But what exactly is the Crocodile Islands ranger program? As people gathered ‘round to collect their new ranger uniform I learnt that the program is a vehicle for innovation in contemporary indigenous ecological knowledge. With no shops on the island the rangers are enthusiastic about protecting the environment especially as it provides their favourite foods.

M:        This is a turtle egg. Every time when we come every morning for fishing, when we see turtle egg, sometimes we get one bucketful and then take them home, share.

P:         Towards dusk the boys pulled in a fish net with enough food for everyone at the camp.

M:        [Speaks in Aboriginal language].

P:         Using a modern-day net was nothing compared to the traditional method of catching fish. Being over 50 years since the large traditional fish trap was set on the island, for many of the younger people this was their first time seeing the real thing. Fish traps signify a profound body of knowledge and the responsibility for passing on that knowledge is in the hands of the older generation.

M:        [Sings in Aboriginal language].

P:         As an Aboriginal person the pride of the opportunity to learn indigenous language, it was an honour to hear the people speaking Yan-nhangu.

M:        [Speaks in Aboriginal language].

P:         Unfortunately with the influence of western culture and kids attending English-speaking schools traditional language is slowly becoming lost. Recognising the seriousness of the situation the ranger program is implementing strategies like a Yan-nhangu dictionary to ensure their language is preserved for future generations. The challenge they face however is that there are no longer many elders left.

M:        We’ve got one leader left, oldest, she knows more story, more than us and that’s them up there, the old lady.

M:        [Speaks in Aboriginal language].

[Music]

P:         Aside from teaching younger people correct dance techniques, Baymarrwangga is responsible for passing on knowledge to her kin all over the Arnhem Land region.

M:             Old lady, she knows how to make a net.

P:         For me the wisdom this lady displays makes her equivalent to professors found in our tertiary institutes but unlike school or university learning doesn’t begin and end over a number of years, it is an ongoing lifelong process and as energetic as Baymarrwangga may be, she won’t be here forever. As my time on Mooroonga Island came to a close and I battled the seas back to the mainland I thought again of the Crocodile Islanders ranger program, the people I had met and a community’s dedication to preserve the most unique culture I have ever witnessed. Alone this will be a challenge but with your support of the Crocodile Islands range program life on Mooroonga will continue to flourish.

F:         We’re looking for our gan̲aman. When we die the kids will take over.

[Music]

[VIDEO ENDS]

N:        Okay. Today I’ll be talking about a particular book we received in 2014, the Yan-nhangu Atlas and Illustrated Dictionary of the Crocodile Islands. It was started by two people in the video you just saw, Laurie Baymarrwangga and Dr Bentley James. They started writing the Yan-nhangu Atlas and Illustrated Dictionary approximately 20 years ago as a storehouse for the history, culture and languages spoken on Baymarrwangga’s country for her people, the children of her home lands. Baymarrwangga herself was a very special person, she was the last fluent speaker of Yan-nhangu, which is one of the Yolngu languages and a member of the permanent language family. She was a Senior Australian of the Year in 2012. She started a bilingual school on Mooroonga Island and initiated the Crocodile Island rangers in order to keep the cultural and environmental practices of her people strong. The rangers currently manage approximately 400 square kilometres of land and 4,000 square kilometres of sea. This has received international recognition for the conservation of migratory birds and turtle nesting. There was crowd funding for the publication of this work complete with a possible campaign to raise money for the production. And it was even mentioned in the Koori Mail.

In the end it was sent to 36 homelands, seven schools, seven ranger programs and 330 libraries around Australia including the state libraries and two to us here at the National Library. This lovely work goes into detail about everything you could ask for from the family networks to the local geography and the reasons for travel, to the history of the Crocodile Islands and what the people did to try and maintain their connection to their land and history in addition to linguistic information and a trilingual dictionary. It really is a fascinating volume on all aspects of the culture. There were two moieties or two halves, sort of like yin and yang, only having different aspects of the physical and spiritual worlds and each half having different ancestral journeys and sites within the Islands. These two moieties are then divided into three clans per moiety, and each spoke a different language and had different lands. It is important to remember that the ancestors changed their language at each new territory they formed and thus the two languages of the Crocodile Islands. Some words are the same but some are different. The dictionary included in this volume respects this and both languages but under the Yan-nhangu headings. It includes the names they applied to kin and how the kin are connected. Here's a hint for those uncertain, they use an awful lot more names for familial relationships than we use in English.

Is Dr Bentley here? No? Ah well, I was hoping he could help me with some of these. And perhaps correct any errors. For example, they use a single term for a father and his brothers and a single term for a mother and her sisters. The same was for the paternal grandfather and his siblings but the paternal grandmother and her sisters was the same but I’m not entirely sure what they called the paternal grandmother’s brothers. Thus ... but furthermore people from a different patrilineal line would marry women from your family, and your womenfolk would marry men from yet another patrilineal line, and so the kinship would cycle throughout the Islands. And continue to do so.

From the Atlas perspective it covers the six seasons they use rather than the more common four, and the connected season round of interisland travel which was due to a variety of reasons, including food availability and nesting snakes. I would really suggest avoiding those. It lists the travel routes, what is available when and where with particular emphasis on fishing, sort of to be expected in a group of islands, I guess. Even comparing the differences between the traps of the inner islands and outer islands, the methods of travel between islands and the accommodation they built where and why. It is as much a cultural atlas as it is a geographic atlas.

In addition to this it includes the history of the Crocodile Islands, some things local, but others of national significance, such as the overturning of Terra Nullius in 1992 or the apology of the ... to the stolen generations in 2008. The 2008 apology coincided with the Yirrkala petition for the recognition and protection of the full and complete right to an indigenous way of life. In this amazing the work the text of the petition is in both Yan-nhangu and English. It is on page 178 in the volume down the front, if you’d like a look at the end. For the dictionary side of things the words are sorted alphabetically according to the Yan-nhangu language then the English translation, then the Dhuwal form, if different. And then the word in a sentence in the same linguistic order. It also contains an English word finder list on yellow paper, a Dhuwal and Dhuwala word finder list on blue paper and then a semantic domains list that includes animals, birds, body parts and even everyday mathematical terms. This is in addition to linguistic orthography and examples of how the dictionary’s laid out and what the different parts mean. This in and of itself is of great importance to those in the process of learning the language and I kind of wish I had that sort of thing when I was studying Japanese.

This work is amazing. I am not surprised it took 20 years to compile and publish. What does surprise me is the small size of the book considering the sheer amount of information it holds. I would love to see more indigenous language and material and more indigenous cultural material come in through the National Library but having this, this makes me happy. Thank you.

[Applause]

S:         Hello. I would like to begin by acknowledging the Ngunnawal people, the traditional custodians of the land on which we are meeting today and pay my respects to their elders, both past and present. I’d also like to acknowledge my fellow former graduates, John and Nicolette, and members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community who have joined us today. Everyone is respectfully informed that this presentation does feature images of people that are now deceased.

So as Margy mentioned, I work in Newspapers and Family History, and I love my job. A particular passion of mine at the Library is uncovering collections people can use to research their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ancestry and something I’ve learnt while going about my business is that every family has their weird stories that get bandied about and mine is no exception. I was told that my ancestor from Gippsland, Victoria was found as a child in a log. But no one in my family seemed to know why and so I remember smugly scoffing and thinking to myself yeah, right, whatever. And the wisdom of teenagers. But I don’t think that anymore and today we’re going to explore how through research using the Library’s collection of books, manuscripts, photos and staff knowledge lo and behold my mind has been changed. Don’t worry, as I work in Family History I’m well aware how interesting I find my family history but I do appreciate that you might not share my enthusiasm, so I’ve only written enough material today for a five-hour seminar, the doors have been locked, after my seminar we’ll split up into groups of five and we’ll have a brainstorming session, we’ll develop a mural which highlights the key points I’ve made today.

So my story begins in 1985 but we’ll skip all the awkward fun bits and get to about three years ago before I started working here at the National Library. I was visiting my nan at her house in Nowra, which as you probably know is the jewel in the crown of the south coast of New South Wales. While sitting there watching her favourite television show of all time, Law and Order SVU, she broke the strictly-enforced-with-the-wooden-spoon code of silence and pulled out some old photographs she’d gotten on a visit to some libraries and museums in Victoria. As she began to recount grand adventures from her childhood, I became aware—much like you have now—that attempting to leave would be the height of rudeness. Lots of the photos she showed me were of people at Lake Tyers Aboriginal Mission in Gippsland. Oh! How very dare you!? I know where you work!

So lots of the photos she showed me were of people at Lake Tyers Aboriginal Mission in Gippsland, Victoria which is where my nan’s family come from, the Gunai people, and it’s where she lived for a little while when she was younger. One photo in particular stood out to me, it was this photo. I asked who it was and Nan said that’s Kitty, that’s a relative from Lake Tyers but she couldn't explain how so again that knowledge was missing. I filed this information away in the back of my conniving rat-like brain. The seasons changed, a year passed, more grey hairs appeared upon my pillow each morning and in the rapidly fading twilight of my twenties I took up a graduate position at the National Library of Australia. When I was a graduate in 2014, I was given a project to catalogue Aboriginal languages in the Library’s manuscript collection. Manuscripts are things like letters, diaries, personal papers and unpublished records. I thought to myself this will be interesting, I only know Koori words for poos and wees and three different ways to call someone stupid.

Anyway I got to work and there I was sitting at a table in the Library leafing through the letter books of a man named Lorimer Fison. Fison was a missionary and something of an anthropologist who collected lots of information about Aboriginal kinship systems in the mid to late 1800s with a particular focus on Victoria. I was only looking for language when I found something remarkable. A family tree of the Gunai of Lake Tyers, my nan’s family and there in Fison’s neat handwriting was the name Kitty. I remember what my nan said about a relative named Kitty from Lake Tyers,  but the last place I expected to find any information about her was in a handwritten piece of paper dating from the late 1800s kept in the National Library of Australia. I became interested then in who Kitty was and once I started actively searching for her I found another photo of her sitting in another canoe in the Library’s catalogue. So here it is.

I realised that there was lots of information out there but none of this information answered my question, I wanted to find out how exactly Kitty was related to my family, how she was connected. I knew I wasn’t going to get anywhere until I started doing my own family history research which brings me to my favourite collection at the National Library of Australia. It’s a collection of people. I wouldn't have known where to even begin without the advice of the staff in the Library’s Family History team who I’m forever grateful to.

Now I started my family history research the old-fashioned way, by using Ancestry which you can access for ... free of charge on any computer inside the Library building. Ancestry can really only get you so far, though. It got to a point where I had to buy some registry certificates from Victoria Births, Deaths and Marriages. So I bought certificates and I kept tracing back until I got all the way back to my great- great-great-grandfather, George Thomas who lived at Lake Tyers so here it is here. Finally there on his marriage certificate was the name of Kitty listed as his mother. So ...

A:         I’m related to you.

S:         Mm. That’s right. End of story, right? Mystery solved. No, because just like the episode of SVU my nanna interrupted three years ago, there was one final piece of evidence which would change everything. Last year while chasing down another branch of my family history I came across this book here, titled You Are What You Make Yourself to Be: The Story of a Victorian Aboriginal Family, 1842 to 1980. In my opinion this is the most important book to me in the Library’s collection. I’m going to finish up today by reading you a short story which was told to one of the authors, Uncle Philip Pepper, by his grandfather, Billy Thorpe. The story is about Billy Thorpe’s childhood, and I’ll read it to you now.

The last big tribal fight, war really, was fought at the mouth of the Tambo River between Billy Thorpe’s tribe and the South Gippsland mob, the Port Alberts. It lasted all day and right into the evening. How it come about was the other tribe had got to the Tambo food hunting and they decided to swim over for swan egging, but word soon reached the Swan Reach Aborigines and they got together, the men and women too and off they went with their war weapons, barbs, spears, waddy sticks and killer boomerangs. The killer boomerang is sharp on both ends, the game boomerang were shaped different and spun around and around and come back. The children were left in the camp with all the old people or anyone sick, they never went to the fights. Billy and George ... and this is George, my great-great-great-grandfather ... were only young lads and after the warriors left they nicked off after them, following for miles without being caught.

They got to part of the country where fires had been through and they had a job of hiding there, just burnt tree stumps and logs, they got spotted so they were in trouble. Well it was too far back to the old people so their parents left them there but well hidden in an old hollow log covered over with burnt branches. Grandfather told me it was ‘olla’ [hollow] alright, but it had plenty stinging nettles inside. Their people told these boys not to move out of that log ‘til they got back. The tribes met at the mouth of the Tambo River and they had a terrible battle, a lot of them killed and wounded on both sides. Grandfather told me ‘it wasn’t ‘til dusk ‘til our people come back where we was, still in that ‘ollow log and we was howlin’ and yellin’ and it was old Kitty Johnson and Dick Cooper who found us. My parents were both dead in the battle and so were George’s. Kitty took us and reared us up.’

So with this one book I had my answer about Kitty, how she was connected to my family and very unexpectedly the complete story of the boy, or rather the boys, in the log. If I’d known about this book first I suppose I’d have had my answers pretty easily, but on reflection I’m glad I didn’t because with family history it’s those hard-won finds that you relish the most. And of course I have all of this additional wonderful documentary evidence in support of these fantastic oral testimonies.

The reason I love libraries is because they’re a safe haven where you feel empowered to learn, whether you're a professor or a pre-schooler. My research into my own family history taught me the surprising way different collections of books, manuscripts and photographs in the Library are all connected and can be used to tell a story or at least fill in the gaps of a story you might already know a little bit about. I’m incredibly grateful to have been the Library’s 2014 Indigenous graduate, not just for my own purely selfish professional development but through the program I was able to create a research guide to increase the visibility and accessibility of the Library’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language collections to community. And I even solved a little family history mystery along the way. Thank you all for listening and I wish you all an amazing NAIDOC Week.

[Applause]

J:          Cool. Okay. Good afternoon, everyone. Before I begin I also want to acknowledge the Ngunnawal people whose land we are on today for this presentation, and I am blessed to work and live on their country. Before I go any further I also want to mention that this presentation will contain images of people who have now passed. So for those who don’t know, my name’s John Morseu, and I’m Zenadth kez Mabaig, a Torres Strait Islander with traditional ties from all five island clusters of the Torres Strait region. For those who don’t know where the Torres Strait is it’s the area where specks of islands are located between the tip of Cape York, the top of Queensland, and the southern coastline of Papua New Guinea. I was a 20 ... as mentioned I was a 2015 indigenous graduate at the Library, having moved down from Cairns, far north Queensland. And I am currently working within the Oral History and Folklore branch of the Library.

Today as we know we ... and this week ... we are celebrating NAIDOC ... 2016 NAIDOC theme: songlines have a living narrative. I’ll be speaking about an item in our collection that has a special significance to me and my sociocultural identity and identifying one is particularly difficult because they all have a significance in their own right. Whether it’s these ... like these images by Frank Hurley, documenting life on the Islands or a manuscript by Alan Marshall documenting the old-time stories of war raids between islands. And how can I not forget the manuscripts of the Mabo case regarding native title but equally the Meriam Identity? Each of these stories and others I haven’t mentioned provides a different aspect on how life was back then informing me, a young person, of how our old people used to live and how we have adapted over the years. And also it provides the depth that an oral history cannot provide to you when you’re talking with old people.

My time so far at the Library has been like opening a new door to a new world that I am slowly starting to explore, understand and apply, all documented that I’m finding Torres Strait Islander-related material into my own world view and studies, looking at practical ways to further implement into my life, also looking at ways of how to inform community and family members of the gems that we are so privileged to have here in Canberra that unfortunately community does not even know exists.

The item that I have chosen that is significant to me is a Torres Strait Islander missionary-related correspondence and photographs of 1907–1933. This is the letters and photographic records of founding missionary, Reverend Samuel MacFarlane’s sister and niece, Edith and Grace Wile. This particular item is special to me for a few reasons. Firstly it was the item that made me understand the acquisition process as a part of my graduate year but more so it made me begin to appreciate the value that institutions like the Library hold in relation to capturing our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander societies. What has happened, what is left and having the potential to revive songlines today and into the future.

Secondly, this item was the one that made me have a personal moment of shock, shock to learning that what the potential of ... what potentially is hidden in private hands or selling in auction houses without us, the first nation people, knowing. Thirdly, this is special to me as a member of the Mosby family. This particular item has an aka, which is the Torres Strait word for grandmother, but I referred to her more respectfully as a great-grandmother, a big aka, and I think in western terms that might mean great-aunt but we don’t ... I don’t practise that and we don’t have that in our vocabulary. So aka Elma Mosby’s a York Islander or masiq from Masiq and as a teenager she writes letters in English from 1926 to 1933 to Missionary McFarlane’s niece, Edith Wile which I also want to mention ... also want to mention that Elma Mosby’s sons as I had later found out were not aware that their mother had written such letters ever. So this for me adds that little bit of fascinating relevance of being able to see an innocent penpal relationship of the early 1900s but more so between an indigenous and nonindigenous Australian. But the thing I love the most about aka Elma is that she used distinct Torres Strait wording that denies respect such as Bubba, an Island word for father. Referring to Missionary McFarlane she would write Bubba McFarlane.

I believe that this is the earliest form of T ... I believed when I saw this that it would be the earliest form of Torres Strait Islander writing English and after speaking with linguist, Anna Shnkul and Emeritus Associate Professor Jeremy Beckett—both of whom have had a long-lasting relationship with Torres Strait communities in their respective fieldwork and academic work—have from their memory haven’t seen any early form of English being written. I mention these two individuals on the basis that I acknowledge my age and status as a young person in my community and my personal continuing journey to learn and understand from my older family and community members and of outsiders such as these two individuals, who have contributed to the upholding of our cultural identity. So for me these letters written by aka Elma document about ... document ... is another documentation about my people, enables me as a Torres Strait Islander to really look at how English was used in our Island society and particularly the positive acceptance of Christianity by a young person at that time.

The letters are supported with a photographic album which has been very interesting to provide visual to daily life activities that were taken, ornaments that were worn and also the social events such as weddings on the Islands that contributes to our community and regional history. This particularly for what I have identified as Lui and Passi families’ documents ... so this album has the Lui and Passi families and that has their like grandfathers and they were our first Torres Strait Islander priests so they were the ones that worked very closely with the London Missionary Societies. And I wish to focus just lately on the Lui family particularly because I found these photos. And the ... yeah so I wish to focus ... Reverend Lui and the descendants have contributed ... so he ... so Reverend Lui contributed to Christianity in our region upholding many communities both in place and abroad. So the descendants have also moved to the mainland and also uphold that sense of Christianity.

And at the time of discovering these images, or getting hold of them, was when I was actually in discussion with some Lui descendants about the oral histories they were told in their family and some of them mentioned ... they said I only wish that we had images to tell those stories to younger people growing up in today’s society where they really you know want an image to prove this story. So this image of the grass house which they lived at Dauan Island on the Torres Strait and seen with his ... and on the other picture seen with his wife taken with other members of that society at that time. It only mentions the wife of Joseph Lui is like aka serai Lui, and for the record her descendants would be over a thousand, so this image provides a great family history documentation and due to our island, interisland and family relations such images contributes to our regional community and social history. And also, knowing how the journey of the gospel was spread throughout the Torres Strait.

As a community the information in the Library and that what I have found is priceless because it has the potential for us as Torres Strait Islanders to empower our knowledge about our social history by providing that physical objects to read and view other than the oral histories that sometimes our young people are not as connected with to inform us of our colonial past but I believe that it also from a social history lens enables us to understand the past, enables us to ... how to understand the influences, the changes since being in that fierce headhunting society, how we’ve changed, how we viewed our world view but also the ways we’ve maintained that cultural thread, our unique Torres Strait Islander identity. So these items for me is more than just letters and images, it is one part of the jigsaw that is available at the Library that now myself as a young person in this day can really look at ways to implement back into our knowledge tool kit, our world view and contribute to our holistic identity that existed both before time and imposed cultural history contributing to our now contemporary Torres Strait Islander identity. Au esou. Thank you.

[End of recording]

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