Danica Davidson has lived most of her life searching for her cultural identity. Despite years of struggle, she has never lost hope that one day she will find a sense of self and place.
Danica Davidson has embarked on an all-consuming quest to find her ancestry and, in turn, herself.
For years she has struggled to gain a sense of identity and place due to limited information about her family’s roots in Broome, Western Australia.
Part of the Stolen Generation, Danica’s father was separated from his five siblings when authorities arrived one day to take them away.
“He was only days old when his brothers and sisters got removed,” Danica said.
“Dad was small enough to be hidden in a box and he was put in the back of a car with an Aunty who travelled out of Broome.”
Left behind was Danica’s grandfather who she said was forced to sign a statutory declaration to deny his Aboriginality in order to move to Ceduna, where he believed his children had been taken. He never saw them again, and died in 2001.
Danica desperately wants to know more about her grandfather and his mob but unearthing clues is a slow and painful process.
“That would be a massive piece of the puzzle,” she said “but I have asked my family questions and no one has any information.”
“Certain parts of my life have been put on hold as I don’t feel like I can move forward until I know the where, when, what, who, and why.”
It was not until Danica joined Northern Carers Network six years ago and began working alongside Aboriginal Elders, that her quest to know more became all-consuming.
She said her role as Aboriginal Community Development Officer had given her the confidence to embrace the heritage she was taught to reject as a child.
“The Elders I met and a few of the workers drove me to find out more about my ancestors, beliefs, religion and culture,” she said.
Part of her role is to coordinate Kindred Spirits, a program supporting Nunga families to develop safe and nurturing homes.
“I believe that each and every day I spend helping someone in the community is also helping me piece my life story together,” Danica said.
“Sometimes when I’m out in the community, when I announce my grandfather’s name, a few Elders are aware of him.
“I still feel I don’t know who I am.
I know I am a proud Aboriginal woman but from where and from whom I don’t know. I haven’t declared my Aboriginality because I want more information.”
Danica said her quest is as much for her own children and “grandies” as it is for herself.
“I want my grandchildren to know who they are and their background by the time they’re adults, and that their nanna researched it for them,” she said.
“To be able to sit my kids down and say `this is my journey’ and teach them would be everything.”
February 13 marked the 14th anniversary of the Apology to the Stolen Generations.
Get in touch with Northern Carers Network on (08) 8228 8900.