Anniversary of the National Apology to the Stolen Generations

Today marks the 12th anniversary of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s apology to the Stolen Generations.  This apology, made on behalf of the Australian Government, formally acknowledged the immense suffering experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people due to past government policies of forced child removal.

“Apologies are significant because they are expressions of respect. They also acknowledge a moral code shared by both parties, and a common acceptance that it has unjustifiably been disregarded. They also imply a pledge to act differently in the future. The respect embodied in the apology is based in the common humanity shared by both parties, which lies deeper than differences based on religion, race and wealth.” Fr Andrew Hamilton SJ

Eighty-year-old Lorraine Peeters was in the House of Representatives on the day of the Apology and presented Mr Rudd with a glass coolamon, a traditional vessel for carrying children. Reflecting on the twelve years since the Apology, she reminds us that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples throughout Australia still suffer the trauma of removal, as collective trauma, intergenerational trauma and often as invisible trauma. She calls on us to learn, know and accept the history of Australia and to listen to and understand the stories of the Stolen Generations as " you can't help to heal someone if you don't know their story."

At tomorrow’s College Commissioning of our staff and student leaders we will be formally presenting the Nine Nations Blanket made by Mr Mark ‘Bushy’ Smith, to our College community. The Blanket was made to acknowledge the First Nations of lutruwita trouwunna Tasmania; the North West Nation, the North Nation, the Northern Midlands Nation, The North East Nation, the Ben Lomond Nation, the Oyster Bay Nation, The South East Nation, the Big River Nation and the South West Nation.

The Blanket was created to be used as a focus in our learning, sharing of story, restorative healing and in ceremonies and is a visual reminder of our commitment “to recognise past hurt, celebrate our shared humanity and build a better, more just and reconciled society” (SVC Reconciliation Statement)