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An prominent Indigenous elder has been 're-traumatised' after he had to prove he was Aboriginal.
The Australian-based Indigenous man, named Uncle Jack Charles, was left shocked after receiving a 'distressing' phone call from a staff member of the Stolen Generations Advisory Committee (SGAC).
The staff member ordered Uncle Jack to provide proof of his First Nations heritage to receive a second reparation payment of $80,000.
However, the man was able to receive the first $20,000 installment as part of the Stolen Generations Reparation scheme without having to provide evidence of his heritage.
During a radio interview on Melbourne’s ABC Radio on Friday, Uncle Jack explained how the committee staff member demanded proof of ‘Aboriginality’ was required after some people falsely claimed to be Indigenous in an attempt to benefit from the scheme.
Uncle Jack told the radio host Mary Gearin: “The point of fact here is it's me they're talking to. I'm a well-known Aboriginal... I'm a man of many nations - it's been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am Aboriginal.
“It strikes me that they can't differentiate between people taking advantage of the system and the likes of myself.”
In fact, the Wiradjuri, Boonwurrung, Dja Dja Wurrung, Woiwurrung and Yorta Yorta originating man has traced his family tree to his 'five times great-grandfather' Mannalargenna.
Uncle Jack was even the first elder to speak at Victoria's Yoorrook Justice Commission and was the first Indigenous person to receive the Lifetime Achievement award from Victoria's Green Room Awards.
He was also appointed an Australian Council of the Arts Red Ochre Award for the most-outstanding Indigenous artist in 2019 and was honoured as the Victorian Senior of the Year in 2015.
The Victorian Government launched the reparations package on March 31 to shed light on the forced removal of Aboriginal children from their families and community, as well as their culture, identity and language.
The Stolen Generations Reparations Package website does not mention any requirement to prove Indigenous heritage to receive compensation, although applicants do need to provide copies of two different kinds of ID.
UNILAD has contacted a representative of The Victorian Government and The Stolen Generations Reparations Package scheme for a comment.
To be eligible to receive the package, applicants must be an Aboriginal and/or a Torres Strait Islander person, have been removed by a government or non-government agency before 31 December 1976, while under the age of 18 years and have been first removed in Victoria.
Others who are eligible for the package must have been separated from your family for a period of time that resulted in the experience of loss of family, community, culture, identity and language and have lodged a valid application with all necessary supporting identification documents.
You can find out more information and apply for The Stolen Generations Reparations Package here.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact Stop Hate UK by visiting their website www.stophateuk.org.
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