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The Stolen Generations was a time period roughly between 1910 and 1970, in which countless Indigenous Australian children were forcibly removed from their families and homes under the implementation of government policies. Thus, many have been separated from their origins, and have sought to understand their identity, despite their estranged relationship with their Aboriginal history. The struggle to understand one’s Aboriginal identity has been one of the most prominent results of Australia’s colonial history, especially as the Australian government at the time, primarily deemed Aboriginality to be defined by genetics. One’s identity, however, is not a simple blueprint depicting the blood quantum or physical traits of an individual, rather it can be best understood as a journey, in which individuals identify themselves, and is also identified by others, through a collection of experiences, meanings, etc. 
The question of Aboriginality is rather complicated, particularly because of the vexed history of White colonialism. For much of the twentieth century, a great part of being defined as Aboriginal was determined and controlled by the State. As described in Ian Anderson’s, Black bit, white bit, White Australia thought Aboriginals to be unhygienic, uncivilized, inferior, etc., and found it necessary to forcibly detach them from their Indigenous culture. For White Australians, “to be an  Australian citizen, for a person of Aboriginal heritage, meant nothing less than becoming a white Australian with a black skin” (Anderson 45); thus the Indigenous people underwent segregation and assimilation colonialism, in which they were stripped of their rights and ability to celebrate their heritage. Amongst all of the problematic ways in which White Australia defined Indigenous identity, their schemes to assimilate and differentiate Aboriginals based on their biological make-up or skin tone were notably unfortunate. Lighter skinned Indigenous people were often given more rights than darker skinned individuals, as they were assumed to be able to assimilate better to white society. The Indigenous people were often labeled as “half-castes” or “full-bloods” depending on their biological traits, as a part of the colonizers’ means to organize and maintain purity in White Australia.
As colonialism played a great role in the Aboriginals’ sense of self, along with the way in which they were depicted by others, there were a number of different factors that led to the way in which the narrative of the Stolen Generations was formed. In Bain Attwood’s ‘Learning about the truth’ The stolen generations narrative, he draws upon Peter Read’s hypotheses surrounding the stories of the Stolen Generations’ victims. While some children were unable to share their story of Aboriginality because of their unawareness of their heritage, Read depicts the shame that many others felt, as they worried that they, along with their families, would receive negative attention as a result of it; for many of these individuals “their descent or background was scarcely relevant to how they understood and/or represented themselves–in fact many wanted to deny their origins–and so their memory of separation was marginalised in the life stories they told” (Attwood 187). 
The shame that these individuals felt is also reflected in the autobiographical book, My Place by Sally Morgan, in which she describes her journey to understand her Aboriginal identity and heritage. Sally struggles to understand her identity growing up, especially as her mother Gladys and grandmother Daisy, both victims of the Stolen Generation, are unwilling to share with her the truth about their Aboriginality. As she attends school, she begins to note differences between her and her classmates, particularly regarding her skin color, as well as her views on family life, as depicted in her drawing of her unclothed family (Morgan 18). Through small details like these, along with her family’s notable spirituality and connection to nature, one can observe the different aspects of Indigenous culture that are deeply rooted within the family. Although Sally later discovers that she is, in fact, of Aboriginal descent, her grandmother continues to be wary about sharing her story, as she feels a sense of shame and fear that Sally will also be taken away. She attempts to hide much of her Aboriginal story from her granddaughter, as she refuses to speak the Indigenous language and reveal her Aboriginal name.
Despite all of the attempts by both Aboriginals and non-Aboriginals, to keep the Indigenous history silenced, and to define Indigenous people based on biological traits, one’s identity can not be merely simplified in this way. Australian Aboriginals believe their identity to be defined by the relationships that they have with one another. Without recognition and acceptance into an Indigenous community, one can not identify themselves as Aboriginal. Even prior to understanding her Aboriginal heritage, Sally displays her values regarding kinship and strong relationships, as she describes her “meetings” with her siblings, and expresses her concern with her family being torn apart. 
The value of being accepted by a community is also readily apparent in Sally’s interactions with the whole network of relatives that she meets when she visits Corunna Downs, where her ancestors once resided. Through the stories of each individual she encounters, including Jack, Tommy, and Doris, she begins to understand bits of her heritage and further, gains a better understanding of her identity, a huge question in her life that she struggled to answer. With the learning about her ancestors and the shared suffering, brutality and despair that they endured as they were forcibly assimilated into White Australia, Sally describes her and her mother to have felt as though they had “suddenly come home and now they were leaving again. But they had a sense of place now” (Morgan 290). 
Belonging to a place is one of the key values in traditional Aboriginal culture, as Indigenous people carry close ties to land, as well as the relationships they have established. Thus, Peter Read and co-director Coral Edwards found great importance in developing Link-Up, a service with the functions of bringing families that were broken as a result of the Lost Generations, together (Attwood 190). The service describes the importance of returning to one’s place and asserts that “‘by coming home to your family you’re finally coming home to yourself, to the self that is your birthright. It’s a coming home to the realisation of the person you really are, so that you can finally stand up and know inside: this is me'” (Attwood 191). By seeking to return home to one’s own cultural and familial roots, one can search for his or her own Aboriginal identity. With the loss of Aboriginality, individuals must aim to regain and reestablish themselves by journeying to find their place. As Sally Morgan seeks to gain a better sense of self, she finally finds a place of belonging, in which she can embrace her Aboriginal identity through the recognition and storytellings of the Corunna family. 
In traditional Aboriginal society, individuals typically do not pursue or aim to discover their identities, as they are often assigned to them through initiations and rituals. However, with the loss of Aboriginality from the removal of children during the time period of the Stolen Generations, Indigenous people must seek to reestablish their identities through Aboriginal communities and storytelling. Understanding one’s own identity reaches beyond biological characteristics; we build our identity through the accumulation of our histories, values and experiences.

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Works Cited
Anderson, Ian. Black Bit, White Bit. 2003.
Attwood, Bain, and Fiona Magowan. “‘Learning about the Truth’ The Stolen Generations Narrative.” Telling Stories: Indigenous History and Memory in Australia and New Zealand, Bridget Williams Books, 2001.
Morgan, Sally. My Place. Read How You Want/Accessible, 2012.

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