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the Stolen Generation
Transcript of the Stolen Generation
This term describes the
- and some Torres Strait Islander - people who were
forcibly removed from their families
as children by past Australian Federal, State and Territory government agencies, and church missions,
from the late 1800s to the 1970s.
These removals were carried out
under acts of their respective parliaments
, and the children removed
were sent either to institutions or adopted by non-Indigenous
not permitted to have visits from their parents
or families, such was the extent to which
the separation from family, community and culture was enforced.
Why were they removed?
Apology to Australia's Aborigines people
The new Prime Minister
was the first Australian politician to make a
formal apology to the Aborigines in 2008
. However, he also said that the government would not give any money to the victims. He claimed that it was in the interests of government to raise the children in the best way.
the government of the conservative Prime Minister
refused to make a national apology. They
denied that there had ever been a Stolen generation
, arguing that the children had been rescued from physical and moral danger and that their treatment was humane by standards of the times.
Bringing them home report (1997)
At the time, the policy was seen as
aboriginal children from the
'aimless and immoral'
life on the territories, and
giving them a better start in life
. The project was part of the Australian attempt to forge a nation,
to bring aborigines into mainstream society
- it was assumed that the
Aboriginal way of life would die out in a matter of years.
The benevolent interpretation of this policy began to be challenged in the 1980s
Australian society ...
Indigenous parents were
unable to look after their children properly
. By taking the children away from the 'bad influence' of their parents and family it would be easier to make them more 'European', to force them to
fit in to white society
suppressing any distinct Aboriginal culture
Bringing them home was made by the
Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission
Collect testimonies and the inquiry made 54 recommendations
, e.g. reparations and an apology to Aboriginal peoples.
10 to 33%
of the Aboriginal children were removed from their families between 1910 and 1970.
The stolen Aboriginal children often
suffered physical and sexual abuse and official bodies failed to protect them.
Any Aboriginal children were
never paid for the work they did
"Y’know, I can remember we used to just talk lingo. [In the Home] they used to tell us not to talk that language, that
it’s devil’s language. And they’d wash our mouths with soap
.We sorta had to sit down with Bible language all the time. So it sorta wiped out all our language that we knew."
Confidential evidence 170
"I remember all we children being herded up, like a mob of cattle, and feeling the humiliation of
being graded by the color of our skins
for the government records."
Confidential submission 332
grew up sadly not knowing one Aboriginal person
and the view that was given to me was one of fear towards [my] people. I was told not to have anything to do with them as
they were dirty, lived in shabby conditions and, of course, drank to excess
Not once was I told that I was of Aboriginal descent
. I was told that with my features I was from some Island and they [foster family] knew nothing of my family or the circumstances."
"There was tampering with the boys . . . the people who would come in to work with the
they would grab the boys’ penises, play around with them and kiss them and
things like this. These were the things that were done
. . . It was seen to be
the White man’s way of lookin’ after you
. It never happened with an Aboriginal."
Confidential evidence 340, Western Australia: man removed in the 1930s
"You spend your whole life wondering where you fit.
You’re not White enough to be White and your skin isn’t Black enough to be Black either
, and it really does come down to that."
Confidential evidence 210, Victoria
"a lot of girls didn’t know where home was because their parents were moved and resettled
miles away from their traditional homelands.
They didn’t know where their people
and it took them a long time to find them.
Some of them are still searching down
to this present day.
Confidential submission 617, New South Wales: woman removed at
8 years of age in the 1940s
." . . your siblings . . . your family -
you can never get that back once you’ve lost it
people are there, yes, but you can never get it back.
" Confidential evidence 321, Tasmania