Excerpt from Laina Faul’s personal blog “Thoughts From Laina.” Laina is a Spring 2016 ASC student from Belhaven University. Reproduced with permission.North Stradbroke Island, Queensland, Australia
By Laina Jo Faul
Two faces smile as they greet.
It’s a green meadow when they meet,
hand to hand,
cheek to cheek,
the Western grip distant for a beat,
silk grass kissed by morning dew.
There’s more than friendship between them:
generations of kinship
come home as they meet.
Aunty Marg totters gently towards a seat;
memories and stories trail at her feet,
each step heavier than the last,
but at last,
Words etch themselves at the tip of her nose.
She reaches down into her stomach
and begins to speak.
Her aged voice shakes,
She looks no one in the eye,
not out of shame
but in custom and humility.
Her story tells of yesteryears,
yesterday for her.
Our lips couldn’t paint our language
Our feet couldn’t dance our songs
Our stories were silenced
Our culture branded wrong
Children were taught to be white;
you can’t teach a child’s skin.
Men were put in the fields
where their wives once had been.
Women were removed from children,
taken to houses that could never be home.
She fights for her life
for her family to reunite.
Wolves in chains lie down in pain.
Hope glistens in her eye.
Peace is on its way home;
It’s just taking its time.
The story is not over
She’s only one storyteller,
one voice of many
making future out of memory.
Aunty Marg is an Elder working to preserve and use the land of North Stradbroke Island to educate generations of Australians and visitors about the First Nations People there. She is a living testimony of the “wound of Australia” and the “stolen generation.” She knows what it is to be stripped of one’s cultural identity and has witnessed the devastation that comes from that. Even so, she is an encouragement for her passion, vision, and strength amidst trial. It was an honor to have her share with us, a moment I do not cherish lightly.