Barkindji man Paul Dutton and Bundjalang woman Dorothy Pholi at the Saraton Theatre for the screening of Servant or Slave for National Sorry Day.
Barkindji man Paul Dutton and Bundjalang woman Dorothy Pholi at the Saraton Theatre for the screening of Servant or Slave for National Sorry Day. Caitlan Charles

National Sorry Day: Reflecting on testing times

WHEN Paul Dutton was a baby, he was taken away from his family with two of his siblings and raised by another family in Sydney.

Yesterday, the Barkindji man opened the CRANES screening of Servant or Slave at the Saraton Theatre as part of their acknowledgement of National Sorry Day.

Servant or Slave, is a documentary about the history and legacy of domestic servitude enforced upon Aboriginal girls in Australia.

As part of the acknowledgement, Mr Dutton shared his story of being taken away from his indigenous family.

"I lived in Sydney most of my life and I went back when I was 18," he said. "My oldest sister, she didn't go back, she never went back and she's passed away. But my brother and I have been home since then."

Mr Dutton said he grew up with a non-indigenous family.

"I sort of flicked between worlds, my indigenous family and my non-indigenous family."

The Barkindji homelands are in far west NSW, around the Darling River or "Barka".

 

REMEMBERING: Paul Dutton, who was taken away from his family as a child, at the CRANES Sorry day acknowledgement screening of Servant or Slave.
REMEMBERING: Paul Dutton, who was taken away from his family as a child, at the CRANES Sorry day acknowledgement screening of Servant or Slave. Caitlan Charles

Mr Dutton said National Sorry Day was important as it reminded people of what had happened in the past.

"People do get out there and explain their story so that the wider community, who have never experienced it, they never know about what the history entails and what people have suffered through their families," he said.

"It just gives them an idea of where Aboriginal societies is and what families have suffered with and why we are in the position where we are."

Dorothy Pholi, CRANES senior manager for First People, said having people such as Mr Dutton share their story was important.

"It's a big thing for someone to come forward and tell their story, and the time has got to be right," Ms Pholi said.

"(National Sorry Day) is about bringing people together to recognise history.

"It's about Aboriginal history and what's happened to people.

"For some people Sorry Day doesn't mean anything, but for others it does. To me... sorry means regret, (that's what it says) in the dictionary."


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