23 May 2022

Eva, a young Aboriginal person we support, connected with her family in a very special Return to Country trip.

A young girl with her brown hair in a pony tail wearing a t-shirt with pink flowers on it is standing on a beach holding a large shell

Our cultural Support Specialist, Cheryl Moss, shares with us her experience helping Eva*, a young Aboriginal woman, connect to her paternal family.

“When I first started working as a Cultural Support Specialist in 2020, one of the case managers approached me with concerns about Eva not having any family connections with her mob. Eva knew they were from Cairns, but she hadn’t met them, and she seemed lost,” Cheryl said.

Cheryl and Eva began looking at Eva’s family tree and found links to her family working within the community and with staff from Life Without Barriers in Cairns. They were able to connect Eva very quickly with her paternal family and decided to organise a Return to Country as soon as possible.

“While driving into the main hub of Cairns Eva said; “Oh, there are so many Aboriginal people here” and her face lit up with excitement,” Cheryl recalled.

“She had a spring in her feet and a smile on her face the whole time."

"So much joy radiated from her, and it was very clear to see that her sense of belonging to this community in Far North Queensland was beginning to be established.”

Image: During her trip Eva explored the Babinda Boulders.

During the trip, Eva met her little brother, grandmothers, aunties, cousins, and great Grandfather for the first time, and they taught her about her family tree.

“Her great Grandfather told Eva how his mother was taken away as a child and how his name was changed to an English name. He also taught Eva about her Great Grandmother.” Said Cheryl.

Eva’s Great Grandmother was a Yidinji woman who also had connections to the Kanaka people. Her father was a man from Vanuatu.

Returning to Country and learning more about her family was very special for Eva, it has enabled Eva to find meaning in her story and build a genuine connection to her family and culture.

“This was an amazing journey for Eva, she met her family, grasped solid connections to her bloodlines and learnt about her mixed heritage,” said Cheryl.

Eva wants to return to Cairns again to strengthen her attachments to her family and continue to build on her story. She has also expressed her wishes to return to Cairns permanently when she turns 18.

A persons' story is precious. We take story telling seriously. Sometimes people are able to tell their own story and we love that. We always make sure they give us their ok and we will always honour the trust placed in us to bring their story forward.

*Names have been changed to protect the children in this story.

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