Reconnecting family histories: Striving to link communities with Timor Lorosae.

Year: 2001

Author: Maskell, John, Ezequeil, Nancy de Almeida

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This research documents work in the new frontier of East Timor (Timor Lorosae). The participants are crossing the borders of their communities and work environments to create knowledge towards reconciling historical differences. This process of researching is community-driven, cyclical and reflective. Of significance the researchers see their work as hastening cautiously whilst striving to maintain community focus. Through biography and family history research with the East Timorese Cultural Centre (ETCC) the Mary McKillop Institute of East Timorese Studies (MMIETS) has supported educators in reviving history curriculum for Timor Lorosae (East Timor). The story being told relates complexities of language issues in the newly emerging "republic" of Timor Lorosae. The researchers are crossing borders contributing to the work of MMIETS by collaborating with the religious order to benefit their work in Timor. Originally this relationship began with the long-term goal of Sydney community members returning to teach in Timor to strengthen the Tetum language. The new frontiers are developing further via family histories and the researching of biographies. This material will become part of the tools for reconciling and unifying communities by bringing shared understanding of histories. In different ways both those Timorese that stayed and those who became expatriates have suffered for decades.