WHAT IS A MISSION SONG?
A Mission Song is one that was performed or composed on an Aboriginal mission, settlement or reserve during the Missions Era, which lasted fromAustralia’s Federation in 1901 until the success of the Australia Referendum on Aboriginal rights in 1967.
During the Missions Era, many government policies were imposed on Aboriginal peoples under the broad parametres of the White Australia policy and Assimilation policies. These policies resulted in the forced removal of Aboriginal people from our traditional lands, restrictions against practicing our traditional cultures and languages, and the forced removal of children from our families. Their aim was to end our traditional social structures and connections to country. As a result, our cultural knowledge and practices were vilified, and Aboriginal people suffered institutionalised oppression and disadvantage.
Yet, today, the Missions Era also holds important memories about the lifestyles of Aboriginal families and communities during that time. They are filled will stories of struggle and hope, and reflect the strength and resilience of Aboriginal people, where innovation, courage and faith kept families alive.