The Importance Of Aboriginal Identity

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Thus, when she realises that she has Aboriginal ancestry she finds a new beginning. All the years she has been told that she is Indian and now her mother recognises that “[i]t was just a white lie” (135). Sally then asks her mother a question that she has asked her and Nan so many times without getting an accurate answer, but this time her mother says the truth: “‘We’re Aboriginal, aren’t we, Mum?’. ‘Yes dear’, she replied, without thinking. ‘Why shouldn’t you kids know now? You’re old enough, it’s not as though you’re little any more. Besides, it’s different now’”(135). Gladys has changed her mind now and she is also aware that things have changed in their country. This moment is very important for Sally since it is at this very moment that…show more content…
She is always searching for her roots and when she at last realizes who she really is she is proud of her new identity and she accepts it as a vital part of herself. For instance, immediately after the disclosure of her new identity, Sally applies for an Aboriginal scholarship. However, as she recognises, “It wasn’t the money I was after … I desperately wanted to do something to identify with my new found heritage … I wanted to say, ‘My grandmother’s Aboriginal and it’s a part of me, too’” (137). The most important thing is that she has now an ethnic group that she belongs to and nobody can take away her Aboriginal identity since individuals need to experience just a few features of traditional culture as ‘symbolic elements’ for ethnic identity. In Sally’s case it is enough with their common ancestry. There are, moreover, strong bonds between an individual and his/her ethnic…show more content…
Then, as she uncovers her Aboriginal heritage she finds a way out. Now, she will make different journeys in order to find her sense of place. Firstly, it is through the journeys to the past that she finds out where her roots are both ethnically and geographically; it is through diverse historical explorations that she constructs her family’s familial past, her Aboriginal history and, most importantly of all, her place within Australian history. It is through the recording of this past, materialised in her literary work, that she justifies her people and her own Aboriginal identity. Thus, the importance of history in Sally’s rebuilding of place is evident. It is here in the past that she finds the answers to so many questions about herself and her people. However, she also finds some unsolved mysteries, she needs to be connected to a real place and she finds it. All her journeys lead her back to her place of origin, namely, Corunna Downs and its surroundings, where her family history has been written. It is here that the encounter with her ethnicity occurs as a climax of this process of rebuilding her culture and identity, finally, gives her back the sense of place. Sally can now come back to Perth because she is now another individual, a person with an Aboriginal consciousness.

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