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Stolen Generation

Background and exploration of issues relating to the Stolen Generation

Gregory Steptowe

on 9 October 2012

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Transcript of Stolen Generation

Early colonisation: What is meant by
'Stolen Generation'? First
Removals: Saying 'Sorry' Context:
Identity & Belonging Merging the Aboriginal population Policy of
Assimilation Self-determination 'Bringing Them
Home' Report The Present: What were the
effects on children? 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 The forced removal of Aboriginal children from their homes by Australian government agencies and church missions between 1900 and 1972.
http://www.healthinfonet.ecu.edu.au/key-resources/promotion-resources?lid=19042 LINKS: White Australians hoped to remove Aboriginal children's links to indigenous language, culture and spirituality.
Authorities thought Aboriginal parents would neglect their children (although this was contested as starving kids were caused by Aboriginal people not receiving their full wages. WHO? WHY? WHAT? Mainly children of mixed descent (i.e. one Aboriginal parent, one white parent) Children raised on missions or by foster parents were totally cut off from their Aboriginality.
They were severely punished if caught talking their Aboriginal language.
Some children never learned anything traditional and received little or no education.
Girls were trained as domestic servants, boys as stockmen.
Many stolen girls and boys were physically and sexually abused.
Many children never saw their parents again or were told they were orphans. For at least 40 000 years prior to European settlement, the Aboriginal people lived in Australia with their own systems of law, languages and rituals.
Once European settlement began in 1788, Aboriginal rights to traditional lands were disregarded. According to British laws, occupation of Aboriginal land was based on the doctrine of 'terra nullius', or the belief that the land was unoccupied. As a result, there was no treaty or agreement for land use between Aboriginal people and Europeans.
During expansion of the new colony, resistance by Aboriginal people to white settlement led to violent confrontations, including guerilla warfare, mass shootings and poisoning. 1814 1869 1837 The first government-run institution set up with the purpose of separating Indigenous children from their parents was opened by Governor Macquarie in 1814 near Parramatta, NSW British Select Committee recommends that a 'protectorate system' be established in Australia's colonies. Two policies are adopted:
1. segregation (relocating Aboriginal communities to reserves
2. education (giving states & territories the power to send indigenous children to schools, institutions & missions The Aborigines Protection Act (Vic) establishes an Aborigines Protection Board in Victoria to manage the interests of Aborigines.
The Governor could order the removal of any child from their family. 1897 The Aboriginal Protection and Restriction of the Sale of Opium Act (Qld) allows Chief Protector to move local Aboriginal people onto reserves and hold children in dormitories. From the early 1900s, states and territories adopted a policy of merging Aboriginal children into white society. Under new laws under the protectorate system, states and territory governments had the power to separate Aboriginal children from their families and send them to work for white people or to schools or missions. New distinctions between 'full-blood' and 'half-caste' Aborigines allowed governments to divide Aboriginal families or groups, separating children with part-European blood into government-run schools and church-run missions. Many institutions were overcrowded, lacked adequate food, basic facilities & medical treatment. The quality of education was also poor. The policy of merging Indigenous children into white society failed. Children did not simply become 'white'. Instead they suffered extreme disadvantage through separation from families and communities, and facing discrimination in white communities. 1937: First Commonwealth/State Native Welfare Conference adopts assimilation as the national policy "The destiny of the natives of aboriginal origin, but not of the full blood, lies in ultimate absorption..with a view to their taking place in the white community on an equal footing with the whites." By early 1960s, it was clear that Indigenous people were not being assimilated. The policy had failed due to a history of discrimination by white people and the refusal of Indigenous people to surrender their lifestyle and culture 1967 The 1967 referendum meant:
Aboriginal people were included in the Australian census for the first time (thus giving them full acceptance as Australian citizens).

The Commonwealth government could make laws for the Aboriginal people (hopefully for the benefit of all indigenous peoples) 1970s: Indigenous & non-indigenous people lobby and protest to government for land rights, cultural property rights and recognition of disadvantage as a result of the removal of Aboriginal children 1995: Human Rights & Equal Opportunity Commission asked to conduct a National Inquiry into the separation of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Children from their families. 1997: The report, 'Bringing Them Home' is released. It details unquestionable evidence of the forced removal of thousands of Indigenous children from their families and communities. National Sorry Day: 26 May (held to commemorate the history of forced removals & its effects) Apology to the Stolen Generations
13th February 2008
"I feel great. I'm on top of the world, I'm floating on air. It's a big weight off my shoulders... It's the closure I need." "We apologise for the laws and policies of successive parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians," the apology read.

"We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country.

"For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry.

"To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry.

"And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry." (read by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in Federal Parliament) (Archie Roach, Aboriginal singer/songwriter & member of the Stolen Generation) The report found that between 1 and 3 and
1 in 10 Indigenous children were separated from their families & communities between 1910 and 1970.
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