This is another story that was given to me. It is a brief glimpse of the experience of a person who was mistaken as an Aboriginal Woman. The story is written by her husband. I have kept the story as is, no changes except for the names of people and the hospital.
This is the story of my wife, she is a Maori, we have been together for nearly 20 years. She had a brush with breast cancer and it shocked us, how she was treated. She went into the hospital to have some tests and that was when it went bad. I don’t want to say that Koories get treated badly but I think they have some concerns that the rest of us don’t have to worry about.
Her first visit to the hospital some one changed her nationality from Maori to Indigenous, at this point we didn’t know that it had happened. The tests showed that she had a a cancer and when we were talking to the doctor about her treatment, the staff of the hospital and the doctor. Their behaviour puzzled me. The talked about the medication and the treatment and asked if we would continue and if we would stop coming. We were as I said puzzled. Why would we stop?
The social worker spoke about the importance of continuing the treatment and said that she was sick to death of us not keeping up treatment. Not coming back for check ups. We were puzzled, did she mean New Zealanders? But my wife needed the treatment so we started it and then time came around for surgery. Staff congratulated my wife on sticking it out and said she was great for coming back. We met with the social worker he told my wife that she was committed to the surgery, that she couldn’t back out now. He said the government wastes a lot of money on us and that we had to help ourselves. Was this about us being Kiwi. My wife, who is a beautiful strong wonderful woman. She has overcome so much racism in her life and she realised before me that this was racist. She swore at the social worker, she told him she paid her taxes, he worked for her and who was he to make comments about her attending or not attending. She went off at him and wanted his full name and his full title. She then asked for the name of the other social worker and said this was not the way decent people behaved. She walked out and complained at the counter to the hospital staff about the treatment she had received. Another social worker contacted us to talk about what happened. She started off with talking about the elders and the spirits. I was lost at this point. My wife asked her if she did this with all patients? the social worker umed and ahhed and said she only did it with the indignous ones. My wife asked her why she did that with her? She said because my wife was indignous. My wife said yes she is but not indignous to Australia. The social worker was shocked and appologized to us and said that my wifes record had her as Aboriginal. What I want to know is if we were treated like this and spoken to like this, is it common for Aborigines to have this happen to them?