It’s hard to watch this documentary without feeling hypocrisy and shame on behalf of the authorities involved. Servant or Slave tells the still not fully acknowledged and abhorrent history of Indigenous children taken from their families, put into institutions and ultimately put to work as “servants”, or rather, as the title suggests, slaves.
Director Steven McGregor has compiled a series of interviews with women who were taken as children, kept in crude, unloving, shared residences, subjected to every form of abuse imaginable – and unimaginable – and then placed in homes where they invariably suffered more abuse and were criminally underpaid.
It is a well-scripted documentary, with a good balance of facts, editorial and emotional commentary. The investigative narrative is supported by re-created scenes and the monologues are often floated over ironically beautiful landscape and child-play images.
There are so many aspects of this awful history that have not been told, and that makes Servant or Slave essential viewing. (RB)
Premieres Wed Nov 30, 9:30pm on NITV
BY RITA BRATOVICH