The term applies to the generation of people that were affected by
Australian Government’s policy of child removal between 1909 and
Between these years, at least 100,000 Aboriginal children were removed
from their parents.
Aboriginal stolen generation by Steve Evans via Flickr.com
The “Aims” of the Policy
Not understanding Aboriginal
the early white people thought that Aboriginal People didn’t take care
of their kids very well. So the policy’s main argument was that those
kids needed help! It has also been stated that half-caste kids were an
embarrassment and they were left behind and not looked after. However
no-one really knows how much those statements were exaggerated in the
early days. Some other arguments were that because the populations of
Aboriginal People had declined a lot since the white people came to
(obviously because they had been killing them for 100 years!),
could “die out”! They could supposedly not sustain themselves as a full
blood race anyway, so by removing their kids at least they were saved
“Help” was provided by removing the kids from their parents, separating
the siblings, and placing all the kids to half-caste institutions, were
they were not allowed to speak their tribal language, they were forced
to live in white peoples’ way, and the intention was to make them to
reject their Aboriginality. Some luckier ones were placed in white
peoples’ families, not that it saved them their cultural heritage but
at least they lived in a family.
The Results of Aboriginal Stolen Generation
Even though some of the white people thought at the time that they were
doing the right thing, no-one can argue against the fact that the
parents’ and the kids’ feelings were totally ignored.
1931, three Aboriginal girls
ran away from the
"Moore River Native Settlement" near
where they had been placed by the white authorities. They walked
2,400km, for nine weeks, across the inner Western Australia north to
their home and parents in Jigalong. What a massive walk,
knowledge they had to survive! To not to get lost they followed the
Rabbit Proof Fence that crosses the continent between south-western WA
and the Kimberley region in the north. One of the girls was the mum of Doris Pilkington Garimara
true story. In 2002, a drama film - Rabbit-Proof Fence - was made,
based on the story, and it
is a fantastic watch!
How would a
mother feel to have her kid taken away and not to ever hear again how
s/he is going? How would a kid feel being separated from his/her mum
Many of the kids were taken so young that when they grew up, they
didn’t know who their parents and relatives were. They didn’t know what
their background really was, what their cultural heritage was.
National Sorry Day
Of course Australians regret today that Aboriginal Stolen Generation
ever happened, and today’s government cannot naturally help what
happened in the last century. On 13 February 2008 however, Australian
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said an official “sorry”. Since 1998,
a National Sorry Day is held on 26 May every year.
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