Stolen Generation


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The Stolen Generation in Australia refers to the indigenous children who were taken away from their families.

Published in: Self Improvement
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Stolen Generation

  1. 1. “ The Stolen Generation“
  2. 2. <ul><li>Between 1910 and 1970 up to 100,000 Australian Aboriginal children were removed from their families by Australian government agencies and church missions. </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><ul><ul><li>Originally considered child welfare, the practice is today seen by many as a gross human rights violation, having caused extensive family and cultural damage. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Government authorities wanted to make Aboriginal people give up their traditional customs and adopt the values and lifestyle of the new settlers. </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>They thought that the best way to do this was to isolate children from their families and to educate them to live like the white people. </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Racism was the principal motivation behind removing the children. Being Non Aboriginal was seen as better then being Aboriginal. </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>A national inquiry was conducted in 1997. It resulted in the historical report called “Bringing Them Home”, which for the first time made known the story of the Stolen Generation. </li></ul>
  8. 8. The policy in theory
  9. 9. <ul><li>Although children of full Aboriginal descent were removed, in general &quot;half-castes&quot;, the children of &quot;mixed descent&quot; (having partial European ancestry) were the most targeted. </li></ul>
  10. 10. The aims of the policy were: >To assimilate mixed-descent Aborigines into the European society and culture and >To ensure mixed-descent Aborigines would intermarry with Caucasians rather than with Aborigines.
  11. 11. <ul><li>The government believed that if a child was taken in its infancy from its family and community; it would grow up as they choose to train it. Its culture would not influence its life at all, being completely forgotten. The child would then fit into white society more successfully. </li></ul>
  12. 12. The policy in practice
  13. 13. <ul><li>The report noted that removals were certainly voluntary in some cases; some mothers believed that they were unable to raise their child for some reason. </li></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>However evidence indicates that in a large number of cases children were removed from their parents using &quot;force or duress”. </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>In general the practice was to remove children between the ages of two and four, although in some cases, older children and babies hours old, were removed. </li></ul>
  16. 16. What happened to them?
  17. 17. <ul><li>The official report observed that in many cases gross violations of human rights occurred. Children were in some cases forcibly removed from their mothers' arms. </li></ul><ul><li>Other evidence indicated that deception and brutality was used to take away the children. </li></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>Once removed the child must never return to live with its parents. Names could be changed to prevent searches for origin. The use of traditional language was forbidden on pain of punishment. </li></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>The children were placed into religious or state institutions. Although a significant number, mostly females were &quot;fostered&quot; to white parents. </li></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><li>Children must enter the institutions at the earliest possible age and learn to forget their culture. Their parents and Aboriginal relatives were not allowed to visit them. </li></ul>
  21. 21. <ul><li>The institutions were poorly resourced and understaffed. With concrete floors and no beds. The food supply was not enough to maintain health. There is no doubt that many children lived in conditions of poverty and deprivation . </li></ul>
  22. 22. <ul><li>Many suffered physical and sexual abuse. They received little education, and were expected to go into low grade domestic and farming work without receiving any wages. They were trained to become useful servants. </li></ul>
  23. 23. Shared experiences of the Stolen Generation
  24. 24. &quot;I was at the post office with my Mum and Auntie (and cousin). They put us in the police (vehicle) and said they were taking us to Broome. They put the mums in there as well. But when we'd gone (about ten miles) they stopped, and threw the mothers out of the car. We jumped on our mothers' backs, crying, trying not to be left behind. But the policemen pulled us off and threw us back in the car. They pushed the mothers away and drove off, while our mothers were chasing the car, running and crying after us.&quot; <ul><li>Confidential evidence 821, Western Australia: these removals occurred in 1935, shortly after Sister Kate’s Orphanage, Perth, was opened to receive ‘lighter skinned’ children; the girls were placed in Sister Kate’s. </li></ul>
  25. 25. “ Even though I had a good education with adoptive family and went to college, there was just this feeling that I did not belong there. The best day of my life was when I met my brothers because I felt like I belonged and I finally had a family” <ul><li>Confidential submission 384, Tasmania: woman removed in the 1960s and adopted by a non-Indigenous family; no contact with brothers for 35 years. </li></ul>
  26. 26. The Effects
  27. 27. <ul><li>The physical and emotional damage to those taken away was profound and lasting. </li></ul>
  28. 28. <ul><li>Most grew up in a hostile environment without family or cultural identity. </li></ul>
  29. 29. <ul><li>As adults, many suffered insecurity, lack of self esteem, depression, suicide, violence, delinquency, drug and alcohol abuse and inability to trust. </li></ul>
  30. 30. <ul><li>Lacking a parental model, many had difficulty bringing up their own children. </li></ul>
  31. 31. <ul><li>An official apology was one of the key recommendations of the report. </li></ul>
  32. 32. <ul><li>As a result, formal apologies were passed in the parliaments of Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales and the Northern Territory. On May 26 th , 1998 the first &quot;National Sorry Day&quot; was held. </li></ul>
  33. 33. <ul><li>In May 2000, a &quot;Walk for Reconciliation&quot; was staged in Sydney, with up to 400,000 people marching across the Sydney Harbour Bridge as an apology. A similar walk was staged in Melbourne later that year. </li></ul>
  34. 34. <ul><li>But Prime Minister John Howard has repeatedly refused to apologies. He says that today's Australians were not responsible for the policies of the past. </li></ul>
  35. 35. <ul><li>People of the Stolen Generation have started legal actions for compensation against the Government. </li></ul>
  36. 36. <ul><li>Stolen Generation is still an issue without end. </li></ul>