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Book of the Month | Tell Me Why | Archie Roach

This month has been heavy with the Black Lives Matter events and death of George Floyd, so I took some time a couple weekends ago to unplug, seek some peace, spend some time by the river and just... be.

I brought along our book of the month and WOW i had no idea how relevant it would be to this past months events.

So many times through this book i had to pause and just sit in Archie's words for a while. As soulful a songwriter that Archie Roach is, he is just as good a storyteller when it comes to writing books.

In Tell Me Why, Archie discusses his battles with addiction, falling in love, his music career and being a victim of the Australian governments ridiculous policies that saw Archie become a member of the Stolen Generation, as he was stolen from his family at a young age and undertakes a long, heartbreaking journey to reconnect with his loved ones- although for his dear mum and sister, it was too late.

Archie details stories of loved ones that died at the hands of police including his father, as well as the inspiration behind one of his songs- a 19 year-old man who on the night of his birthday, died due to systemic racism and prejudice.

A timely memoir, that provides a soulful insight into what it means to be a victim of the Stolen Generation and the tenacity Aboriginal people have when it comes to connection, family and Country.

Discussion Questions for Tell Me Why

  1. What were your initial thoughts on Albert giving Archie his first taste of alcohol in the park?

  2. Do you think Archie's foster parents truly innocent and thought they were doing the right thing fostering Aboriginal children?

  3. What are your thoughts on the churches involvement in missions? Does this effect how you think of churches today?

  4. Archie and his foster brother, Noel, had a troubled and distant relationship. What do you think may be the underlying issues that caused this?

  5. Archie has a number of relationships throughout the book that he leaves behind and never sees again. One such relationship is his foster parents. What do you think about Archie never seeing his foster parents again?

  6. On Page 49, Archie says 'Albert cared for my every need those first few weeks in Sydney'- do you think Albert was truly helping Archie?

  7. Archie mentions 'the healing powers of music' throughout his book. Do you believe music can help heal? Why?

  8. On page 54, Archie comments that alcohol made him carefree and happy. Do you believe this?

  9. On page 112, Archie mulls over whether he should go to Melbourne or return home to his family that he recently reconnected with. What do you think about Archie consciously making a choice to potentially not go home to the family he had so desperately searched for?

  10. Alcoholism is a common theme through Tell Me Why. On page 177, Archie ponders the following- 'I started to wonder if it wasn't our blackness that got us drinking but our trauma?'. What do you think this means and what do you think about the statement?

  11. Archie has an encounter in one of the many parks he visits. Another young Aboriginal man makes the following comment 'Keep the jawbreakers out of your mouth. No good to be educated.' The comment is referring to large and/or complex words that Archie sometimes uses and thinks himself. Why do you think the man thinks it is no good to be educated?

  12. Archie is quite soulful in this book, with many great quotes and insights throughout. What is your favorite from the book?

  13. What will you take away from this book?


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