May 26th, is National Sorry Day.
This is the 24th Sorry Day, with the first being held in 1998 commemorating the Bringing Them Home Report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families being tabled in parliament in 1997.
This was a deeply personal report, based on courageous Indigenous people sharing their intimate stories and histories, their trauma, and their grief around the injustice and forcible removal of Indigenous children.
In 2008, the Australian Government issued a National Apology to the Stolen Generations, saying sorry for the unjust removal of generations of Indigenous children from their families, their communities and their country, and recognising the ongoing hurt and suffering this has caused.
On Sorry Day in 2017, The Uluru Statement from the Heart was delivered by council member Professor Megan Davis at the closing of the First Nations National Constitutional Convention, held at Uluru. This called for the establishment of a First Nations Voice to Parliament; giving First Nations people a say in the laws and policy affecting them, and a Makarrata commission; to supervise agreement-making between the Australian Government and First Nations people, and the truth-telling of Australia’s history.
Sorry Day is a day for us all to acknowledge the strength and determination of the Stolen Generations, whilst also recognising their hurt and the ongoing nation-wide healing that is still required from intergenerational trauma, relating to the forcible removal of First Nations children from their families.
Our First Nations Children are still disproportionately more likely to be removed from their family (and their culture) than non-indigenous children. There is still work to be done….
Check out the Healing Foundation and Reconciliation Australia to further support your reflections this Sorry Day.
We also acknowledge that 27th May to 3rd June is National Reconciliation Week. This year’s theme is More than just a word. Reconciliation takes action.
Reconciliation Australia are encouraging everybody across Australia to get involved in the launch of Reconciliation Week today, by acknowledging the traditional owners of the country on which you live, work, learn and socialise.