I’m Willie Prince and I was born on an Aboriginal mission called Cherbourg. I was born healthy, I didn’t have a disability when I was born but I got sick about 16 times before my second birthday.
ONE OF THE FOUNDING MEMBERS OF THE NETWORK
Somehow, along the way that caused me to have a disability. I was then removed by the advice of the state medical doctor and under the approval of the state protector.
I was separated from family and community for about 17 years. I grew up in an institution called Xavier Home for Crippled Children in Coorparoo. It had its own hospital, dentist, physiotherapy department and school. We even had to dress up for Church every Sunday, which was just down the corridor.
I always thought that we were all the same, because we were all in wheelchairs. One day, I was told that I was different by one of the kids; he said to me you’re black and I replied with a what? I didn’t know what he was talking about. You’re Aboriginal the kid said to me, I didn’t even know what he was talking about but it got me thinking about who am I and where was I from. This stayed with me until I was old enough to leave the institution and that’s when I continued to find out about my Aboriginality and where I came from. I’m still finding to this very day who I am and where I’m from and it’s never ending.
Not knowing who you are or where you come from, more or less gave me the idea of forming some sort of network, which later formed the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Disability Network Queensland (ATSIDNQ). I didn’t want anybody to go through what I had to go through, people with similar stories who also face the double disadvantages in their own lives can now come and connect with other members, share stories and talk openly about their experiences.
To see Willie’s video story click here