Aggie Abbott tells of how, when Zita returned to her mother after years of being absent, her mother said that her daughter was dead. Ron Wallace, Zita’s husband, talks about Zita’s experience of being immersed within Western society and alienated from Indigenous culture. At home, Zita packs away her belongings, making ready to move out to her grandfather’s land.
The compelling and emotional story is evocatively told through the voice of Zita Wallace and that of her Aunty Aggie Abbott. Zita represents an Indigenous person removed from cultural and philosophical context, and indoctrinated by Western cultural thought. Aggie is an Indigenous woman who, through circumstance, stayed with her family and was raised within her ancient culture with its specific relation to land and place. The essence of both women, soft, gentle, and invested in preserving tradition, fulfils a dramatic contrast while at the same time, a unified sense of being. The filmic complexity of this clip is that it essentially reaches the heart of these two women, and all that they represent. While Aggie avoided being taken, Zita while physically taken, was never really removed from this place.
This clip starts approximately 2 minutes into the documentary.
We see the sun setting in the distance over a dark landscape. We hear sorrowful singing under the voice-over of Aggie Abbott, of Eastern Arrernte people, Zita’s Aunty. The subtitles in English read:
Aggie Abbott She came back to look for her family when her mother was still alive. She went to her mother and explained who she was. But her mother said, ‘You can’t be my daughter because she has died…’ Her mother was old and blind and living at Charles Creek town camp at the time.
Aggie Abbott is interviewed in a studio.
Aggie Her mother got very confused saying, ‘This can’t be my child … my daughter is dead. You must belong to someone else.’ That’s how she responded.
Ron Wallace, Zita’s husband, is interviewed outdoors. On the land around him we see cattle feeding, trees and shrubs and a shed housing a tractor in the distance.
Ron Wallace Zita has difficulties with her family because of the way she was brought up. She was brought up with the Europeans’ point of view from the time she was six or seven years of age, whenever she was taken away, you know, right through her life. You know, Europeans’ views were forced on her at the missions. You know, when you start off as a kid and points of view are forced upon you, you know, and flogged into you and, you know, and you’re punished for not following a point of view, well, you know, you get indoctrinated, I guess, and you follow that point of view and it’s difficult to go backwards.
A street view of a suburban house in Alice Springs, Central Australia. There is a 'For Sale’ sign on the fence. Inside the house we see Zita vacuuming her living room then making a cup of tea. She drinks it while looking out the window into the backyard. The voice-over of her Aunt Aggie’s interview plays over the scenes, we also hear an instrumental piece of music with guitars and violin.
Aggie I could see she didn’t know anything. I wondered if she would learn anything about Aboriginal ways. It must be hard for them to come back.
Zita is interviewed seated in her kitchen. We see open boxes used for moving in the kitchen behind her.
Zita Wallace I’m excited, apprehensive. Ah, It’s sort of all mixed up, I suppose, because, um, I’m giving up a comfortable home in town to go out to nothing. People probably think I’m mad – 62 years old, going back and starting from scratch but, yeah… People probably look at me and think, you know, she’s crazy.
Zita packs away china figures from a cabinet by wrapping them gently in newspaper.
Zita Maybe we can find a good home for them.