The film Paperbark Woman Monsoon Dreaming - The Story of Violet (Vai) Frances McGinniss Stanton will be launched in Darwin on Tuesday, June 11 by The Honourable Nick Dondas, Member for the Northern Territory.
The film is an Australian Women's Archival Project from the Australian Film Commission's Women's Program. The Project, begun in 1984, records interviews with women who have made significant contributions to Australia during their lifetime
Vai Stanton, who passed away soon after completion of the film, was an Aboriginal elder of the Kungarakung tribe but is also of Irish descent on her father's side and of the Gurindji tribe on her mother's side. She was the founding director of FORWAARD, an Aboriginal Alcohol Rehabilitation centre in Darwin, a member of the Darwin region ATSIC Council and the keeper of the Kungarakung's stories.
The stories told in this film encapsulate the history of the Top End through Vai Stanton who at an early age faced a personal battle to be recognised as an individual with rights.
Under the Aboriginal Ordinance Act, Vai was warned that unless her husband Jim Stanton applied for an exemption to marry her, he could be sent to jail and Vai and their children sent to a reserve. This alienation motivated Vai to fight for the rights of her people and to begin a legacy of sharing her knowledge about identity and human rights with others.
Vai Stanton's sister Sadie Ludwig said: "When my sister Vai Stanton began recording her story on film, it was so that others could understand how hard it was and still is to be Aboriginal in Australia.
"Although my sister is not physically with us today, she is with us all the time in spirit. Her legacy goes a long way back and this is reflected in her film."
Vai's shade laying ceremony will take place prior to the premiere screening of Paperbark Woman Monsoon Dreaming.
The screening will be at 5pm, Tuesday June 11 at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Conacher Street, Bullocky Point, Darwin.