Thursday, August 02, 2007

Follow The Rabbit-Proof Fence - And Another Landmark To Follow

For nine weeks and 1,500 miles, three young Aboriginal Australian girls followed a rabbit-proof fence (originally constructed to prevent rabbit infestation) to route their return home to Jigalong. In 1931, the girls were removed from their parents and taken to the Moore River Native Settlement, as part of the Stolen Generation. (From 1915 to 1969 the Australian Government made Aboriginal children wards of the State, denying all parental rights and sending the children to Internment Camps and orphanages where many were adopted out to white families.)

In 1996, Doris Pilkington Garimara, the daughter one of the three girls, Molly Craig, wrote a book about her mother's ordeal; "Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence." The 2002 film directed by Phillip Noyce, "Rabbit-Proof Fence," is based on that book. The film, visually stunning, presents a story of courage, perseverance and love in a quietly powerful way - without unnecessary dialog, overwhelming despair or tearful manipulations. It is one of my favorite movies.


So, what brought all of this on - talking about a movie that is five years old - the good news that came over the BBC yesterday: Bruce Trevorrow, a fifty-year-old Aboriginal man who was taken from his family as a baby was awarded A$525,000 compensation, a judgment delivered by Justice Thomas Gray in the landmark case. The Supreme Court of South Australia found that Mr. Trevorrow was treated unlawfully when taken from his family in 1958 and put into foster care with a white family. Justice Gray established that the taking of a child from his or her family in these such circumstances was indicative of wrongful imprisonment. This is the first time that a child from the "Stolen Generation" has been recognized as having been unlawfully imprisoned due to the Australian Government assimilation policies from 1915-1969.

"I thought that we would never get there," Bruce Trevorrow said. "But the day's come when I've got the peace of mind to start my life." The judgment alone took eighteen months to be delivered.

Although, outside of the court, Mr Trevorrow also said it was not possible to put a dollar value on the pain he had endured.

For more information on the movie: Rabbit-Proof Fence
For more on Australia's Aboriginal People and The Stolen Generation


eric313 said...

Nice to meet you through your words here at you blog, Pythia3.

Wasn't the Cave of Pythia where Oddyseus went through Katabasis in the Oddysey?

I never knew that fact about the Lost Generation. I take it many tried to go back, to find themselves through finding their famillies. And fencs are such metaphors, especially infestation preventing ones. The austrailian government once recognized Aboriginals as vermin for purposes of ranchers being able to shooth them on sight. It sounds absolutely briliant.

Jon said...

I am of two minds about this one. The native, stone age populations should not be treated as work horses. Nor should they be only valued as show ponies: For $3200.00 US you can book a trip to "view" the Austrailian Aboriginals. I'm surprised that Columbus didn't think of it.

This is probably how space aliens would treat us, valuing our quaint primitive nature. Some would take us on their ships and shoot us around the galaxy as Barnum showed his elephants. Others would float above us and observe our primitive lives with an attitude of mocking regard and feigned appreciation, "Do you think we can buy one of those cute little music players back at the souveir shop?" And they would most likely refuse our prayers for a cancer cure to keep our culture pure.

Erik Donald France said...

I got this for the school library but haven't seen it. Now I will. Which is a very good reason to review movies (and books) of all vintages.

realbigwings said...

That's so strange, yet in terms of synchronicity, very fitting. I was just drawn to this title at the video store and walked away, still thinking about it. Then I glanced "Rabbit-Proof Fence" when I was scrolling down your profile to get to your blog, and by the time I clicked Cave of Pythia I was all itchy with "What's up with Rabbit-Proof Fence, it keeps coming up. What's that about anyway?" And then of course I saw that's what you'd written about. WEIRD. "What?" I thought, and looked at the clock as it changed numbers. Again. I look at the clock at the exact changing second o so often.
So anyway, I definitely want to check out this film; it seems powerful. And nice review, engaging w/o giving away too much.