“Disposed of”: stolen indigenous woman plans her return

I’ve blogged a couple of times in recent weeks about the Stolen Generations of indigenous children, and about the anniversary of the Bringing Them Home report:

Referendum Roundup, and Indigenous Health “Report Card”

Australian linguistocide, and antipodeal approaches to aboriginal education

For most of the twentieth century, the Australian government removed 10-30% of indigenous children from their parents, typically under false pretences or by force. They handed the children over to white parents to raise, in an attempt to “breed out” indigenous blood. They did this under the guise of it being “for their own good”, as indigenous parents were assumed to be culturally and mentally inferior, alcoholic, neglectful, abusive.

Leonie Pope
Image Credit: BBC News

Today, BBC Wales brings us the story of Leonie Pope, a woman who was stolen from her parents in Brisbane 35 years ago and removed to Wales by her adoptive parents. Born at home, Leonie and her mother were then taken to hospital, and her mother lied to about “inoculation” papers that were actually foster papers.

“When my mother and I became separated, my mother confronted the hospital saying she wanted me back and that she had signed the wrong papers, she was actually told I was dead. She said ‘ well she’s my daughter, I want her body for burial. I have the right to my own daughter’s body’ and at that point she was told that I had been disposed of so there was no reason for her to return to that hospital looking for me. But all that time, I was in that hospital and I remained there until I was about six-months old.”

The government also lied to Leonie’s adoptive parents, telling them that Leonie had been abandoned at the hospital by her parents. Leonie began discovering her roots as a teenager – but her mother died before she learned that Leonie was still alive. Leonie only discovered in 2004 that she had six siblings, all stolen.

Leonie Pope and her family are now planning to move back to Brisbane.



Categories: culture wars, history, indigenous, Politics, social justice

Tags: , , , ,

2 replies

  1. I never can get my head around how people who did this, and the people who still excuse it, don’t find this and stories like it gut-churningly awful.

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