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LES ABORIGENES PIECE DE THEATRE

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CACELLES Léa

T3

SYNTHESE LLCE

The « Stolen Generations » is an expression used to describe the generation of children that were taken away from their home and families by the Australian government. They were placed in schools in order to erase their culture and identity. Those events took place between the late 19th and late 20th centuries.

There is a vivid memory of this period in Australia and today we can find a lot of artists that are using their art to talk about this issue. The first document that we are going to study is an extract of the play « Stolen » wrote by Jane Harisson, a descendant of the Muruwari Aboriginal people, and first perfomed in 1998. This play is telling the story of 5 five aboriginal children that were apart of the « Stolen Generation ». The second document is a poster of the movie Rabbit-Proof Fence produced by Phillip Noyce and that came out in 2002. The story is about Aboriginal Children that were placed in schools by force and that escaped in order to find their families. To do so they will begin a journey of 1500 miles. The third document is a song called « Took the Chidren Away » wrote by Archie Roach an aboriginal artist who was apart of the « Stolen Generation » and who is singing about his past.

What are the different aspects of the « Stolen Generation » that we can see in the documents ?

First we will understand that the theft of those children created pain and broken families, then we will analyse the importance of « their home » for them. And in our last part we will see the denunciation of the Australian government in the documents.

We can notice that the loss of the children broke their family apart. Indeed in the first document Ruby was taken away from her family but once they are together she doesn’t consider them as her family which really hurt them l22 « don’t live in no home any more. I work for the Hardwicks », they are also not comfortable with each other because of the separation l27 « Stands there awkwardly ». The communication is impossible l11 « They misundertand » the family despite the reunion is still torn apart because of the actions of the government. We can find the same idea in the song of Archie Roach that is also singing the pain of family that were torn apart « Tearing us all apart ». « Snatched from their mother's breast » This expression explains really well the brutality and the violence of those separations and also the fact that the children still needed their mother with the world « breast ». Archie is singing about the pain of those generations and what they went through « My mother cried go get their dad ». The last document is once again showing that the families were broken. Indeed the children were 1500 away from their families but being away from them was so painful for them that they escaped and went through that journey.

It is really important for the children to find their home, their families, were they belong and sometimes this reunion is possible.

The Australian government didn’t only try to take the children away from their family but also the erase their identity and who they are. In the first document Ruby doesn’t want to come back and rather stay were the government placed her and were they wanted her to be « I work for the Hardwicks ». In the song Archie explains that they wanted them to become white men  « Told us all the white man's ways » but that inside of them they were still aboriginals and that they couldn’t erase who they really are « Cause we were acting white yet feeling black ». Just like in Rabbit Proof Fence the children couldn’t be away from their home and that somehow it was calling them. They made a long journey to find their families, identity and culture back. And the families could sometimes be together again and become a home. In Stolen the family of Ruby was longing to see her again « they are excited to see her » they just wanted to be together. And in « Took the children away » Archie is telling that he and many children could find their families « The children come back » and their Home « Back where they all belong » and we could see that this meeting gave a lot of happiness to everyone. The repition of the world « back » is really showing how important it was to be home again.

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