‘We are Soul Sisters”
Nine Coota Girls survivors and family members living in the Riverina, together with directors of the Coota Girls Aboriginal Corporation, attended a forum in Wagga on 2 August 2019. Hosted by Coota Director Aunty Fay Moseley, the forum was the second of 5 being held in centres across NSW.
In the morning, Coota members discussed how the Corporation can support survivors, their families, and connect them to services that they need. Ideas included: holding reunions; ensuring that survivor stories are told; working with schools to tell local survivor stories; hosting regular regional meetings; connecting members into Coota meetings through live streaming (eg Facebook); and finding ways to connect Coota families with local services. The ideas and suggestions from the five regional forums will form the basis of future Coota Girls planning and funding applications.
In the afternoon, a panel of Stolen Generation survivors including Aunties Fay Moseley, Janet Smith and Marlene Coombes from Coota Girls, Wiradjuri elder Aunty Gail Manderson and Uncle Michael Welsh from Kinchela Boys Home Aboriginal Corporation shared their stories of removal and healing. There was significant discussion about the importance of agencies collaborating to meet the needs of the Stolen Generations and their families. A key message of the afternoon was - the ongoing separation of Aboriginal children from their families must stop.
Our thanks to Wiradjuri elders Aunty Gail Manderson and Uncle Peter Ingram, the BuujaBuuja Dancers and LinkUp NSW.