Between 1910 and 1970, tens of thousands of aboriginal Australian children were taken from their families in a government-fostered assimilation campaign that, if successful, would have wiped out aboriginal culture. Darker-skinned children were raised in orphanages; their lighter brothers and sisters were put up for adoption in Australia, Europe, and America. They came to be known as the "stolen generation." Now stolen generation adults like storyteller Pauline McLeod are reclaiming and celebrating their culture. For anyone who didn't get enough of the Aussie experience in the tape-delayed Olympics, McLeod--along with aboriginal singer and songwriter Kerrianne Cox and a multiethnic collection of young Australian performers--is bringing Down Under history in tales, dance, and music (aboriginal and otherwise) to North Shore Center for the Performing Arts. Directed by American singer and producer Lynn Thomas, who was adopted as a child and believes she may be part of the stolen generation, Upstart Aussies recognizes the parallels between aboriginal experience and the experience of Native Americans and seeks to "create a bond among First Nations." Upstart Aussies goes up Monday and Tuesday, October 16 and 17, at 7:30 at the center, 9501 Skokie Boulevard in Skokie. Tickets are $25 to $30. Call 847-673-6300.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Tony Harrison.