‘The Sapphires’ – Wayne Blair
The Sapphires directed by Wayne Blair, was a film set in the Cummeragunja mission settlement on the banks of the Murray river in 1969. A true story at its core, ‘The Sapphires’ was adapted from Tony Brigg’s stage play, inspired by his own mother’s experiences as a young Aboriginal teenager in Vietnam.
This powerful film takes us on a journey through the eyes and hearts of four young girls from the Yorta Yorta community. Cynthia, Julie, Gail and Kay shared a love of singing, before Kay was taken away by the government and placed in an institution to learn the ‘the white ways’. The four girls reunited as adults to embark on their own journey through Vietnam, singing as an all Aboriginal girl group for the troops in the war. Blair and Briggs (2012) created a very influential film which opened up my eyes to the Stolen Generations and its impact on the indigenous community. We see Kay struggle with her identity and her connection to the Yorta Yorta people, while Gail struggles with not being able to forgive herself for Kay’s removal (Blair, 2012). I could see that Blair (2012) had effectively used the underpinning themes to connect the audience to the characters while acknowledging the suffering of the past, but also exploring relationships and the ongoing limitations imposed by racism in Australian society.
To this day, indigenous children are still 9.5 times more likely to be in out of home care indicating that this is still a significant issue in aboriginal communities. (Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2016). As a Pre-Service Teacher specialising in Early Childhood Education, it is imperative to understand how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities were treated in t...
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...fear that Delilah is dead, when she returns months later with the hope of rehabilitating Samson (Thornton, 2009).
Although the film is mostly silent, Thornton (2009) demonstrated an extremely powerful way of exploring confronting issues such as violence, substance abuse, and lack of opportunities for indigenous communities. Through symbolic representations, Thornton effectively breaks down the emotional buffer that has been created and provides truth into the gaps between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.
As an early childhood teacher, there may be opportunities to work in rural and remote areas where student’s lives greatly differ from my own. It would be vital to adjust perceptions to understand different situations and be flexible when talking and interacting with students, working together to assist in closing the gap between health and education.
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