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Stories From Our Elders

When was the last time you sat down with a senior family member or friend and had a yarn? Chances are they’ve got some pretty interesting stories to tell.

By Kate Conway

In honour of NAIDOC Week, Library and Archives of the Northern Territory (LANT) presents Stories from Our Elders, a special evening of storytelling celebrating the lives of four esteemed First Nations Elders.

Don Christophersen, LANT’s First Nations Education and Engagement Coordinator, is the driving force behind the event, and was inspired to share the recordings in response to this year’s NAIDOC Week theme ‘For Our Elders’. Tasked with the enviable job of delving into the library’s back catalogue of recorded oral histories, he says there was a bounty of recordings to choose from.

“There’s so many that I could’ve used. It’s about availability, having the oral history there and getting someone to talk about it who feels comfortable to do it,” he says.

“It’s stories that people want to hear, really different sort of stuff. It’s about human beings and the extraordinary lives that they led.”

Each of the recordings is presented with live storytelling from their family members, and accompanied by images and music in a multimedia showcase of their lives. From tales of old Darwin to experiences of being removed from and reconnecting with family, the evening is rich with history and stories of survival.

In the way that only family can get away with, Christophersen says the evening also features more than a little joy.

“I’m sure there’s going to be plenty of hilarious stories told about people’s fathers or grandfathers or mothers. That’s the way we remember our family sometimes, with humour,” he says.

The oral histories date between the late 1970s and 2009, offering a rare opportunity to catch a glimpse into snapshots of Territory life through the ages. If you’re a history buff or someone who appreciates a good story, don’t miss this one.

“It’s stuff they won’t hear anywhere else … It’s stories you’ll never hear, read in a book, or see online.”

Stories from Our Elders
WED 5 JUL | 5.30-7PM

Thumbnail & inset: Daisy Cusack Ruddick

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