Each year we memorialise National Sorry Day on the 26th of May, to acknowledge the mistreatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from the Stolen Generations, who were forcibly removed from their families.
From 1910 to 1970 First Nations children were removed from their families by the government, to attempt to fulfill the misguided assumption that they would have a better life if they were to become a part of white society. They assumed this would also make Indigenous people take responsibility to become more like white people and expect them to live a life without their heritage, culture, language and traditions, yet they were never given the opportunity to experience the life of white society along with their rights and benefits. Instead, they were mistreated, abused both mentally and physically, given poor education if any at all, and were expected to be manual laborers and domestic servants. Not equal to white society.
National Sorry Day initially began in 1998, the year after the government’s report of the removal of the Aboriginal children from their families. Then, in 2008, former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, began the notion of the Sorry Speech to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families, which is now said annually. This day is a day to accept our truth of history, and to acknowledge The Stolen Generation and the mistreatment they experienced. We need to be aware of the trauma that they still experience today and will continue to experience in the future.
Ways you can be apart of National Sorry Day is to join a local Reconciliation Walk, attend a Sorry Day flag raising event, attend/organise a speech or information session from an Aboriginal Elder or educator, research to become more informed and aware about the Stolen Generations, and even donate to The Healing Foundation. The Healing Foundation is an organisation to amplify the voices of those apart of or affected from the Stolen Generation. Any donations received go towards healing projects to meet the needs of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
“Our people have demonstrated our resilience time and time again but more needs to be done to support the Stolen Generations and their families. We need to recognise the work yet to be done to move forward from saying sorry.” Florence Onus