Secret language: Reminiscences on punishment for using language, language loss, and the Stolen Generations [video]

Reminiscences by Aunty Diane McNaboe (Wiradjuri, Dubbo), Aunty Maureen Sulter (Gamilaraay, Coonabarabran) and Aunty Patsy Cohen (Anaiwan, Armidale).
Cultural Narrative: 

Aunty Diane McNaboe (Wiradjuri, Dubbo):

… my uncle, my dad's oldest brother ... was six years old ... he really liked school … he could speak Wiradjuri and Ngiyampaa … because he had Wiradjuri and Ngiyampaa grannies, grandmothers. So he dropped in to speak in his language and he got taken away … when he went to court, they said he was speaking bad language and he said, ‘but I wasn’t swearing … I wasn’t using bad language’ … it wasn’t til later that he realised that they meant his Aboriginal language … so that little Aboriginal boy got two years for speaking his language.

Aunty Patsy Cohen (Anaiwan, Armidale):

… myself and two other siblings were taken away when I was four years old … my father was a white man, my mother was an Anaiwan woman … I was nine years old, I came up from Sydney with the welfare woman … at Woolbrook Railway Station … they were trying to get me of the train because I was terrified of all these blackfellas on the railway station. They were all my uncles, aunties and cousins, and I didn’t know I was Aboriginal … my grandparents came to the window of the train and said ‘we’re your grandparents … and we’re taking you up to Inglebah to live.’ Granny was a Kamilaroi woman and Pop was a Gumbaynggirr man … they were told not to teach kids their language.

Aunty Maureen Sulter (Gamilaraay, Coonabarabran):

… due to my mother being Stolen Generation at the age of eight … the Mission Manager’s wife … would come around every week … and check the house. If the house was dirty, if you had no food … they could take the kids away, the Stolen Generation. So in order to overcome that, my dad had us scrubbing the floors after school. We had to do all these chores … so that they wouldn’t have anything … to be able to take us away.