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  • Belinda Dann, a member of Australia's Stolen Generation, died just months after being reunited with her family, who had been searching for her for over a century?

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Belinda Dann (4 July 1900 - 9 October 2007) was an Indigenous Australian born as Quinlyn Warrakoo to an Irish cattle station manager and a Nykina mother.

Born in Lunlungai community, Derby, Western Australia, at the age of 8 she was taken away and sent to Beagle Bay Mission with other members of the stolen generation. Her name was changed to Belinda Boyd to integrate with White society.

She married Mathias Dann in 1918.

In May 2007 she met her 97-year-old brother, Patty Jungine, for the first time. Jungine died one month later in June 2007, and Dann died four months afterward in Port Hedland at age 107.

Dann's funeral in Port Hedland attracted over 200 mourners on Saturday 27 October 2007, and was followed two weeks later by a traditional ceremony at Lunlungaim, where a lock of her hair will be buried alongside her mother's grave.[1]

Her son Bernard Dann said his mother's family knew the authorities were looking for light-skinned children and would disguise her with charcoal.

"Her mother painted her in charcoal. But they got caught ... they went to a billabong and it all came off," Mr Dann said.

When she arrived at the mission, Ms Dann and her sisters would ask: "Where's mummy".

"They were told: 'Don't worry, mummy's coming', but mummy never came, mummy never knew where they were," he said.

He said he and his mother were very poor living in Port Hedland and often experienced bigotry.

Throughout the years, Dann had remembered her Aboriginal name, but she did not know who she was and where she came from.

Then four months ago one of her grandsons mentioned her original name in a conversation with an Aboriginal girl who had heard of Ms Dann and was connected to the Nykina people.

"They had searched for her for 100 years," Mr Dann said.

When a meeting was arranged, an incredible thing happened.

"I'd never heard my mother speak in her language in all her years ... they started speaking Nykina language all around her and she starts speaking in Nykina language again!"[2]

References

  1. ^ The West Australian, Friday October 26 2007, page 18
  2. ^ Stolen generation member dies just months after reunion

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