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I’ll Watch Over You

Mona Olsson

Mimili, APY Lands,
now Adelaide,

South Australia

Mona is from the Stolen Generation. When she was 5 years old, a truck pulled up. Police rounded up the children into a truck and took them to a mission house. Her mother managed to board the vehicle, but she was not allowed inside the house. Mona didn’t see her mother again for 32 years. 

A very moving story of love and forgiveness.

I'll watch over you (Mona Olsson, 40 Stories Project Director's Cut)
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10min 44s   |   English   |  WATCH WITH SUBTITLES IN OTHER LANGUAGES →

THEMES IN THIS STORY

Stolen Generation
God’s help

Love and Forgiveness
Healing

Dispossession, discrimination

 

KEY QUOTES from this story:

We would go down in our grief, down to the creek, away from everybody. And wail and sing, songs of our people. Wailing the loss of everything:   family, land, language...

 

…it was like all hell broke loose. Police came riding in. All the men were away on ceremony, they just rounded us up.

 

…one missionary lady, Miss Amery. She made us welcome, but she didn't make Mother welcome.  She would turn Mother away. I didn't find out until many years later that she had to walk with her grief In the darkness about ten miles away

 

It was a very terrifying night. To be stuck in four walls… to be in beds off the ground.

 

Everything was strange. Why did this strange woman have to care for us, when we had our own mother?

 

We'd never seen a train in our lives before and we thought it was the devil himself…  But that was God's way of protecting us. I believe that we would have perished. We would never have found our way home.

 

Psalm 121.  I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

 

I was bawling my eyes out and then God came to me. Psalm 121. I never slumber nor sleep. He says, "I'll watch over Israel, I'll watch over you!" So you can understand why I love the Lord so much.

 

…on Easter Sunday when I was 11 years of age, I gave my heart to the Lord, when I said, "Come into my heart, Lord Jesus”

 

The people…  they didn't want black kids at school with their kids, so. The government gave us a one teacher school and she was a very lovely lady and we had a beautiful choir.

 

We were expected to be maids, and boys were expected to be stockmen.

 

The Aborigines Advancement League told the people of South Australia our story. Aboriginal people and white people working together for reconciliation. To be given the same opportunity as every other child that left school.

 

I decided I wouldn't go in the first enclave. So I went to Bible College instead. Because I wanted to know that my heart  was right before God, that I would treat treat people without any discrimination.

 

I decided I would go, apply to the Royal Adelaide. So I was a registered nurse. And then I became a midwife 

 

I met Bengt... And then we got married and then we went to Sweden in 1961. So that was another lifestyle. Learning of another language again.

 

We went up to Mimili. And of course there was so much wailing. 32 years. My mother thought I was dead.

 

This old man said, "I never thought I would live to see the day when a white man would say they were truly sorry and weep for what had happened and for our dispossession.

 

There's power in forgiveness. There's healing in forgiveness. Not only for people, but for the land.

 

I found Jesus when I was young. I think that was the most important decision I ever made in my life. And I learned how to forgive, because, He'd (Jesus) shown us that, hadn't he?

 

It's not just religious words. It's the reality of my experience.