Sisters Journey – memories of women & islands
maikutena Vicki-Laine Green
Green Marineer, Pink Tip Maireners and Black Crow Shell Stringing
Shell Necklace – green maireners, white pink-tipped maireners & black crows 128cm circumference
Memories of a ‘sister’s’ journey when 6 Aboriginal women (my sisters, Bernice & Colleen; my cousins, Verna, Leonie & Patsy and I) travelled to 3 outer Islands within the Furneaux Group for healing, family story-telling, ceremony & shell collecting – Babel Island, Big Dog Island & Cape Barren Island. On isolated Babel Island – where our old families once processed muttonbirds each year – the women, in total isolation, spent times telling yarns, sharing familial history of place, laughing, collecting shells, and doing ceremony on the beach with Mother Moon in her full beauty. On Big Dog Island, my sister Bernice became quite ill. We had travelled to that Island on a hired barge. The weather was quite rough, but the barge owner told us that we would be ok so, off we went. The wind picked up and hit us hard as we turned the western point. We were advised that we would be beached in the barge & we needed to be ready to unload all our bedding, clothes, food etc as quickly as we could so the barge could get back to port. Bernice was drenched and the next day she was quite ill however because of the weather we couldn’t get her to Flinders Island to see the doctor. We kept her as warm as we could which meant that we couldn’t go far from the hut but again we were yarnin’ and telling family stories of place and doing cultural crafts keep busy. On our journey from Big Dog Island to Cape Barren Island Bernice was still ill. As soon as we docked at Cape Barren Island I took her to the Community Nurse who was a natural healer – after an hour Bernice walked out of the Community Centre like she had never been ill. Our time on Cape Barren was full of, making shell jewellery & shell collecting, cooking incredible meals, telling familial yarns & laughter, and visiting old family places. It was a journey we will never forget – sisters, family, culture, ceremony, good food, connections with family places, and wonderful times.