Aboriginal history since colonisation has been largely shaped by government policies. The most striking and destructive historical policies directed at Aboriginal people concerned those that advocated the removal of Aboriginal children from their parents and their placement in white foster homes or institutions. This paper reports on interviews with seven Indigenous participants who had been removed from their families and communities early in childhood. The most dramatic psychological impact on those who had been separated from their families and communities was on the development of social identity. Identity was confusing for most participants in this study, particularly during their early socialisation and development. A qualitative analysis of the interviews identified four major themes around which identity was discussed. These were discovering being Aboriginal, deception, affirmation of identity, and multiple identities. Despite their social dislocation from their families and communities, all the participants in the research have sought out, recovered, and/or maintained their Aboriginal identity in various ways.
The information contained on this website has been sourced by the Australian Indigenous Psychology Education Project (AIPEP) and AIPEP 2. The first AIPEP was funded by the Australian Government Office of Teaching and Learning. AIPEP 2 is part of the Transforming Indigenous Mental Health and Wellbeing Project, funded by the Million Minds Mission Grant. The views expressed in this website do not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Government Office of Teaching and Learning or the Million Minds Mission Grant.
Several of the images used throughout this website are credited to Chris Lewis