Solomon Island registration & information pack 2014

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Dear Community Leaders Friends and Family,

Please find attached registration pack for our first Finding Family workshop to be held in the Solomon Islands.

Australian South Sea Islanders (ASSI) are the largest Melanesian community living outside of the Pacific Islands, and they have survived considerable adversity. ASSI people believe that they can and must inspire and educate their communities and youth, particularly, instilling a much needed pride and dignity within their people and set a fine example of cultural healing on a national and global stage. In 2013 the Australian South Sea Islanders (Port Jackson) applied for funding from the Christensen Fund which is a philanthropic organisation that believes in the power of biological and cultural diversity to sustain and enrich a world faced with great change and uncertaintyTheir support will assist greatly the much needed trust building between the Australian South Sea Islander (ASSI) communities and their Pacific Islander communities of origin. This will be achieved through maintaining an on-going dialogue and sharing of information through workshops relating to ASSI/ Pacific Islands sustainable cultures, land and sea traditions, history preservation and lifestyles. Emelda Davis, president says …. ‘ASSI.PJ are grateful to the Christensen fund and it will be an absolute honour to be working with the Solomon Island community of which I have had the pleasure in meeting earlier this year when I spoke at the opening of their International Museum Day celebrations for the launch of a magnificent Blackbirding exhibition. Day two hosted an important symposium where Prof. Clive Moore, Clacy Fatnowna and myself shared in a robust debate on dispossession and finding families and the much needed reconnection for our communities through self determination. This is a big collaborative challenge for all as its an international platform and the objective will be to communicate affectively in working in with the museum staff and the many participants that will be attending in order to establish and sustain positive and meaningful relationships.’ Graham Mooney, who will also participate in the workshop, says… ‘I hale from Mackay in far north Queensland, which is home to our largest ASSI / Solomon Island descent community. I have both Aboriginal and South Sea Islander ancestry from my father and mother’s lines. My father was brought up strictly in Solomon Islander culture and still speaks pijin today. I was given the role as our biological family historian both on my father’s (Percival Mooney (senior) ancestry and lineage into the Solomon Islands and my mother’s (Jessie Darr) ancestry and lineage into my Vanuatu heritage. This will be my first time to visit the Solomon’s in my over 60 years. Our great grandfather, Kwailiu, and great grandmother, Orrani were brought to Queensland as indentured workers to grow sugarcane in Innisfail in far North Queensland. They came from Fataleka, Malaita, Solomon Islands in 1888. My father’s lineage as a Solomon Islander comes through his mother Cecily Fatnowna, the youngest daughter of Kwailiu and Orrani.’ The workshops will effectively share history, screen culture, skills and knowledge from an ASSI cultural engagement and skills exchange-learning. We have created source materials for use in the workshops and later to be used by participants to spread further understanding to their communities. The two largest set of materials are a chronological history of the development of the ASSI community, and a short thematic history of key aspects of our past, including the voyages to Australia. The workshops significant historical content will be supported by University of Queensland’s Professor Clive Moore – an accomplished Pacific Island / ASSI historian who is considered a son of the Solomons and also speaks fluent Solomon Pijin. In 1976 he was adopted into the Rakwane family in east Fataleka, Malaita Island, Solomon Islands. 2005 also saw Prof. Moore receive the highest order from the Solomon Government for his history work on Malaita Island, ‘A Cross of Solomon Islands’. The Solomon Islands National Museum and the ASSI.PJ would like to encourage the Solomon descendants and ASSIs to participate in the four day workshop from 28th Nov to 1st Dec 2014 to share in Solomon Island culture, identity and reconnect with community and families, which is the basis of the workshops in creating and maintaining a shared history through grass roots perspectives in story. The workshop will be hosted in collaboration with the Solomon Islands National Museum Director Tony Heorake his staff and community leaders as well as Danny Togo, Emelda Davis from ASSI.PJ and Graham Mooney. 

Historical facts:

  • indentured labour trade akin to slavery of South Sea Islanders occurred between 1847 – 1908 (starting in NSW)
  • estimate 55,000 men & some women taken … saw some Islands reaped of their entire male population.
  • 25 to 30% = 15,000 died due to lack of immunity & maltreatment in very large numbers
  • deceased estate wages paid for the Commonwealth Govt. White Australia Policies inhumane mass deportation of over 7,000 SSIs
  • there are an estimated 40,000 surviving descendants today
(Waskam) Emelda Davis – National ASSI Governance Working Group member
President – Australian South Sea Islanders (Port Jackson) Limited
PO Box 117, Pyrmont SYDNEY NSW 2009
mobile: 0416300946
phone: 61.2.95188981 


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