Name: Mona Olsson
Occupation: Retired Nurse, Midwife
Place of Residence: Adelaide, SA
Tribe/Language: Yankunytjatjara people
Mona Olsson, 84, is originally from a small Indigenous community called Mimili in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in the northwest corner of South Australia. Her sister is a custodian of the sacred Uluru in the heart of the Australian desert.
Mona is from the Stolen Generation; having spent time at the Colebrook Home in Quorn, managed by the United Aborigines’ Mission (UAM). Mona lives in Adelaide and is a respected Elder with the South Australian Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC). Mona is a retired nurse and midwife.
Mona was 5 years old and playing with her sister and cousins by a desert stream when a truck pulled up. Police officers got out and started to round up the children. They were thrown into a truck and taken to a mission house. Although her mother managed to board the vehicle, she was not allowed inside the house. Mona said she didn’t see her mother again for 32 years.
“That was a terrible night…to be stuck in 4 walls…then to wake up in the morning and have strange food, porridge. I’d never had porridge before and it was kind of yuck because we’d been used to bush tucker. We’d been used to sleeping in a grass hut and if I woke up in the night I could look up and see the stars…like diamonds in the desert,” said Mona.
Mona became a Christian during her first year with the missionaries. One evening, she said God comforted her and explained the Scriptures she had been reciting without understanding. “I found Jesus when I was young. I think that was the most important decision I ever made in my life. I learnt how to forgive because He very clearly showed us that on the Cross, ‘Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.’ I never stopped loving Him.”
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