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“GPs don’t understand that we’re still going through trauma,” Flo explained. When you go into a lot of the rural communities – like in Yarrabah – there’s shops that have exorbitant prices, so people just eat fish and chips because it’s cheaper than the fresh produce.
There’s a lot of good people out there trying to make a difference, but you’ve always got that remoteness and all that sort of stuff.” Aunty Flo explained that many Aboriginal people are also “really scared” by the prospect of visiting a medical practitioner; something which contributes even further to poor health rates.
Born into the family of a stolen generation, and painfully separated from her home at the age of 11, Brisbane Aboriginal Community Spokeswoman Flo Watson understands firsthand the intergenerational trauma that follows from being removed from your family and culture.
In celebration of , Aunty Flo (as she’s respectfully known) shares with GPTQ about what the day means to the her, how our local communities can get involved, and what medical practitioners can do to better understand the health needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
“Everyone that was in the audience at that time turned their back on him.
It was a very passionate stand that everyone made…I’ve always been a part of the reconciliation process, and I’ve always said that prime ministers come and prime ministers go. “It’s always going to be the groundswell of people that will make a difference,” she says.
In particular, Flo remembers one young woman by the name of Leah Purcell. They’re starting some workshops for cultural awareness, embedding perspectives – indigenous perspectives – into society.
“But we try to do a lot of positive things to overcome all of those feelings and what we went through.
Just commemorating every year on the 26th of May means a lot to many of us who were a part of that.” Remembering back to 2008 when Kevin Rudd made history with the first public apology to Aboriginal people, Flo’s voice is gentle and thoughtful. If you see the video you’ll see for yourself how everyone felt – it was a long time coming and it touched a lot of our hearts.
Screaming in terror and distress, a young Flo was forced from her community under the a policy that saw her torn from her family and sent away to a high school in Cairns.
It would be five years before she could go home and see her loved ones again.
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It was amazing…,” Flo says, recounting the event and how they ‘celebrated all day’ when they got back to Brisbane.