Who are the Stolen Generations: what has happened to them?

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“It’s not that long ago… My dad was a part of the Stolen Generation. My non-Indigenous peers need to actually think about the fact that, if their parents were black it could have been them.” #stolengeneration #healourhistory #theaustralianwars #aboriginaltiktok #blackfullatiktok #firstnations #australia

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Who are the Stolen Generations: Survivors of the Kinchela Aboriginal Boys’ Training Home in New South Wales are demanding an excavation of the site to uncover any hidden graves, shedding light on the ongoing impact of the Stolen Generations. Aboriginal children were forcibly taken from their families and subjected to abuse and indoctrination, with estimates suggesting that up to one in three Indigenous children were removed between 1910 and 1970. Despite a national apology in 2008, the Stolen Generations continue to face significant disadvantages, prompting survivor groups to call for redress, healing services, and a national strategy to address intergenerational trauma. While some states have implemented redress schemes, others have yet to do so. The journey towards healing and reconciliation for the Stolen Generations is far from over. Let’s find out more here: cupstograms.net.

The Stolen Generations: A Dark Chapter in Australian History

The Stolen Generations represent a painful and tragic period in Australian history. Aboriginal children were forcibly taken from their families, communities, and culture under assimilation laws and policies that were in effect until 1970. This systematic removal resulted in immense suffering and long-lasting consequences for the affected individuals and their descendants.

Systematic Removal of Aboriginal Children

The forced separation of Aboriginal children from their families was a deliberate and government-sanctioned practice. These children were placed in institutions, foster care, or adopted by non-Indigenous families. Many endured unimaginable hardships, including harsh treatment, sexual abuse, and the indoctrination of beliefs that undermined their cultural identity and heritage. It is estimated that between 1910 and 1970, as many as one in three Indigenous children were taken away from their families and communities.

Impact on Survivors and Descendants

The impact of the Stolen Generations on survivors and their descendants cannot be overstated. Federal government data reveals that the Stolen Generations are among the most disadvantaged and impoverished groups within the Aboriginal and Islander population. They face significant challenges in terms of health, housing, employment, and family outcomes. The intergenerational effects of this traumatic experience continue to be felt, with more than a third of all Indigenous people being descendants of the Stolen Generations. In Western Australia, nearly half of the population has links to the Stolen Generations.

Despite the national apology made in 2008 and the recommendations put forth in the Bringing Them Home report, there has been a lack of systematic government response to the needs of survivors and their descendants. The Healing Foundation has called for a comprehensive redress scheme, trauma-aware services, access to records, and a national strategy to address intergenerational trauma. It is crucial that progress is made towards better outcomes for the Stolen Generations and their descendants, including ongoing monitoring and reporting to parliament.

Bringing Them Home: Inquiry and Apology

The Bringing Them Home inquiry and the subsequent national apology marked significant milestones in acknowledging the injustices faced by the Stolen Generations. These initiatives aimed to shed light on the past and pave the way for healing, reconciliation, and support for those affected by forced removal.

The Inquiry and its Recommendations

The Bringing Them Home inquiry, commissioned by the federal government in 1995, embarked on a comprehensive examination of the forced separation of Aboriginal and Islander children from their families. Over the course of two years, the inquiry conducted public and private hearings, gathering testimonies from survivors, institutions, churches, and governments. The final report, released in 1997, titled Bringing Them Home, presented 54 recommendations aimed at supporting healing, reconciliation, and addressing the needs of the Stolen Generations. These recommendations included an apology, compensation, the release of records held by churches and the state, and family reunion services.

The National Apology and Ongoing Challenges

In 2008, after years of advocacy by survivor groups, the federal government, under the leadership of Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, delivered a national apology to the Stolen Generations. This historic moment acknowledged the pain, suffering, and trauma endured by those who were forcibly removed from their families. However, despite this apology, the Healing Foundation highlights that there has been a lack of systematic government response to the ongoing needs of survivors and their descendants.

A 2017 review revealed that the majority of the recommendations outlined in the Bringing Them Home report have yet to be fully implemented. This underscores the ongoing challenges faced by the Stolen Generations and the need for continued support and redress. It is crucial that efforts are made to address intergenerational trauma, provide access to records, and ensure the provision of trauma-aware and healing-informed services across various sectors, including health, mental health, housing, and disability support.

While the national apology was a significant step towards acknowledging the past, it is essential that the government continues to work towards meaningful reconciliation and support for the Stolen Generations and their descendants. This includes monitoring progress, reporting to parliament, and establishing a national center for healing to ensure that the legacy of the Stolen Generations is not forgotten and that their voices are heard and respected.

Redress and Support for Survivors

Recognizing the need for redress and support, various initiatives have been implemented to address the injustices suffered by the Stolen Generations. These efforts aim to provide compensation, acknowledgment, and healing for the survivors and their descendants.

State-based Redress Schemes

Several states in Australia have established their own redress schemes to provide compensation and acknowledgment to Stolen Generations survivors. For example, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania have implemented programs that offer ex gratia payments to those who were forcibly removed from their families. These schemes also provide avenues for survivors to access records and receive personal apologies from the government.

While these state-based redress schemes have made significant strides in addressing the past wrongs, it is important to note that not all states have implemented such initiatives. Western Australia and Queensland, for instance, currently do not have redress schemes in place, leaving survivors in these regions without the same level of support and recognition.

National Redress Scheme and its Limitations

In addition to state-based schemes, a national redress scheme was established in 2018 in response to the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse. This scheme aims to provide redress to all survivors who experienced sexual abuse as children, including those from the Stolen Generations. However, it is important to note that any previous payments made to Stolen Generations survivors in recognition of abuse will be deducted from their redress payment under this national scheme.

While the national redress scheme is a step towards providing support, it has limitations that need to be addressed. The scheme does not specifically focus on the unique experiences and needs of the Stolen Generations. Furthermore, the Healing Foundation has highlighted the need for a nationally consistent, fair, and equitable redress scheme that takes into account the trauma and healing needs of survivors. This includes trauma-aware and healing-informed services across various sectors, such as aged care, health, mental health, disability, and housing.

Efforts should be made to ensure that survivors of the Stolen Generations and their descendants have access to comprehensive support, including ongoing monitoring of progress, truth-telling initiatives, self-determination, and community-led services and programs. By addressing the limitations of existing redress schemes and implementing a holistic approach, Australia can continue to work towards healing, reconciliation, and justice for the Stolen Generations.

The survivors of the Kinchela Aboriginal Boys’ Training Home in New South Wales are calling for an excavation of the site to uncover any secret burials, shedding light on the Stolen Generations. Aboriginal children were forcibly taken from their families and subjected to harsh treatment and abuse. In 1997, the Bringing Them Home report made recommendations for healing and reconciliation, including an apology and compensation. However, many of these recommendations have not been implemented. The Stolen Generations continue to face significant disadvantages, and survivor groups are advocating for a national redress scheme and trauma-informed services. While some states have provided ex gratia payments, there is still much work to be done to address the intergenerational trauma experienced by the Stolen Generations.

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