How the past affects our present and out future


This is one of our enduring understandings for this unit. In Rabbit Proof Fence you learned how the Australian government between the years 1869 and 1969. This policy resulted in what is now called "The Stolen Generation."

The Stolen Generations

The 'Stolen Generations' are the generations of Aboriginal children taken away from their families by governments, churches and welfare bodies to be brought up in institutions or fostered out to white families.
Removing children from their families was official government policy in Australia until 1969. However, the practice had begun in the earliest days of European settlement, when children were used as guides, servants and farm labour. The first 'native institution' at Parramatta in 1814 was set up to 'civilise' Aboriginal children.
The Aborigines Protection Board was established and oversaw the mass dislocation of Aboriginal people from their traditional lands onto reserves and stations. Aboriginal girls in particular were sent to homes established by the Board to be trained for domestic service.
In 1909 the Aborigines Protection Act gave the Aborigines Protection Board legal sanction to take Aboriginal children from their families. In 1915, an amendment to the Act gave the Board power to remove any child without parental consent and without a court order.(1)
It is not known precisely how many Aboriginal children were taken away between 1909 and 1969, when the Aborigines Welfare Board (formerly the Aborigines Protection Board) was abolished. Poor record keeping, the loss of records and changes to departmental structures have made it almost impossible to trace many connections.
Almost every Aboriginal family has been affected in some way by the policies of child removal. Taking children from their families was one of the most devastating practices since white settlement and has profound repercussions for all Aboriginal people today.
Source: http://www.racismnoway.com.au/classroom/factsheets/52.html

On February 12, 2008 the Australian government officially apologized to the Aboriginal communities for the Aborigines Protection Act and other such acts that gave the government the right to remove children from their homes.





This is the official apology from the Australian government.

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/feb/12/australia.aborigines/print

"Today we honour the indigenous peoples of this land, the oldest continuing cultures in human history.
"We reflect on their past mistreatment.
"We reflect in particular on the mistreatment of those who were Stolen Generations - this blemished chapter in our nation's history.
"The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia's history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future.
"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.
"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.
"We, the Parliament of Australia, respectfully request that this apology be received in the spirit in which it is offered, as part of the healing of the nation.
"For the future we take heart; resolving that this new page in the history of our great continent can now be written.
"We today take this first step by acknowledging the past and laying claim to a future that embraces all Australians.
"A future where this Parliament resolves that the injustices of the past must never, never happen again.
"A future where we harness the determination of all Australians, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to close the gap that lies between us in life expectancy, educational achievement and economic opportunity.
"A future where we embrace the possibility of new solutions to enduring problems where old approaches have failed.
"A future based on mutual respect, mutual resolve and mutual responsibility.
"A future where all Australians, whatever their origins, are truly equal partners, with equal opportunities and with an equal stake in shaping the next chapter in the history of this great country, Australia."

ABORIGINAL ISSUES LINKS & RESOURCES


SONG: Archie Roach "They Took the Children Away"
Lyrics to Took The Children Away :
This story's right, this story's true
I would not tell lies to you
Like the promises they did not keep
And how they fenced us in like sheep.
Said to us come take our hand
Sent us off to mission land.
Taught us to read, to write and pray
Then they took the children away,
Took the children away,
The children away.
Snatched from their mother's breast
Said this is for the best
Took them away.
The welfare and the policeman
Said you've got to understand
We'll give them what you can't give
Teach them how to really live.
Teach them how to live they said
Humiliated them instead
Taught them that and taught them this
And others taught them prejudice.
You took the children away
The children away
Breaking their mothers heart
Tearing us all apart
Took them away
One dark day on Framingham
Come and didn't give a damn
My mother cried go get their dad
He came running, fighting mad
Mother's tears were falling down
Dad shaped up and stood his ground.
He said 'You touch my kids and you fight me'
And they took us from our family.
Took us away
They took us away
Snatched from our mother's breast
Said this was for the best
Took us away.
Told us what to do and say
Told us all the white man's ways
Then they split us up again
And gave us gifts to ease the pain
Sent us off to foster homes
As we grew up we felt alone
Cause we were acting white
Yet feeling black
One sweet day all the children came back
The children come back
The children come back
Back where their hearts grow strong
Back where they all belong
The children came back
Said the children come back
The children come back
Back where they understand
Back to their mother's land
The children come back
Back to their mother
Back to their father
Back to their sister
Back to their brother
Back to their people
Back to their land
All the children come back
The children come back
The children come back
Yes I came back.
[ Took The Children Away Lyrics on http://www.lyricsmania.com/ ]


//__http://www.lyricsmania.com/lyrics/archie_roach_lyrics_43972/other_lyrics_78496/took_the_children_away_lyrics_778511.html__//

ARTICLE: Stolen Generations

//__http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Stolen_Generation__//

APOLOGY TO AUSTRALIA'S IDIGENOUS PEOPLES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA


//__http://www.pm.gov.au/media/Speech/2008/speech_0073.cfm__//

VIDEO: Australia Says Sorry to Stolen Generation (10 mins, including some background plus speech in parliament):

//__http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9mJpL67QUw__//

Kevin Rudd says Sorry (Short Version):

//__http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1jeWeDpc68__//

IMPORTANT IDEAS ABOUT "ABORIGINES"

* Before European colonization, there were over 400 distinct groups, each with it's own distinct culture.

//__http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Aboriginal_tribes__//

* Before European colonization, there were between 350-750 distinct Aboriginal social groupings - and a similar number of indigenous languages or dialects. At the start of the 21st century, fewere than 150 indigenous languages remain. All except roughly 20 are endangered languages. Of these languages, only 10% (usually in isolated areas) are being learned by children.

Map of indigenous Australian languages:
//__http://www.muturzikin.com/cartesoceanie/oceanie.htm__//