The director of award winning documentary The Last Daughter is touring schools around Australia to show the film and tell her story of reconciliation.

Author and filmmaker Brenda Matthews wrote the book and then directed the documentary on The Last Daughter, which has since won numerous film festival awards including the Best Australian Film at the Gold Coast Film Festival and the Adelaide Film Festival Audience Award for Best Documentary.

The book and the film are about Brenda’s life journey, and how she reconciles both halves of her history, being raised by a white foster family, before being returned to her Aboriginal family.

“People are amazed. They can’t even believe it just happened like that not so long ago,” Aunty Brenda says.

“They thought it happened way, way before that. So I think it brings the story into context now because it’s shared in that sense that it wasn’t so long ago. I have a lot of people come up to me and say, I’m the same age as you, or nearly the same age as you, and I can’t believe this has happened in our lifetime.

“It’s truly humbling to hear these stories and reflections and then being able to bring that story into context of their now.”

The documentary is now screening on Netflix and will soon screen on ABC.

Brenda says she’s travelling wherever she can to spread her message that reconciliation is possible.

“The slogan on the reconciliation thing is now more than ever, and I think now more than ever, it’s a good time to start having that,” Aunty Brenda says.

“We tend to put things in boxes, Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week and Reconciliation Day and all this stuff. But reconciliation should be everyday practice. And it’s not just up to one culture to do it, but it’s up to all cultures to do that and start to understand that reconciliation should be your everyday practice within yourself to be able to reconcile with each other.

“When we can understand that, I think that’s when we can start to close the gap and start to heal the wound.”

She’s speaking to students about how crucial truth-telling and forgiveness are to Australia’s future.

“I just want to keep on spreading the word and keep on going and sharing story around the country wherever we get invited to,” she says.

“It’s been an amazing journey, and I’m just so, so thankful for all the support and all the invitations that we’ve had to go here, there and everywhere. It’s a truly amazing response.

“It shows the importance of sharing story, I think, and knowing who we are and understanding our stories. We all have a shared history now and we’re part of that history and just to understand our stories and understand that they’re joined now.

“Our stories join western stories and their stories join our story, so we’re not separate from it. We’re joined to it, so it doesn’t exist in isolation. These stories they merge now. When we find out our stories can be a wonderful thing, when we have that truth telling and continuation of that practice of sharing story and sharing truth.”

Learn more about Brenda Matthews’ story here.