Between the 1870’s to the 1970’s, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were forcibly removed from their families, by State and Federal Government Agencies as well as Government funded Church Missions.
Assimilation was used as a rouse, to explain their Ideology and it was under their assumption, that black inferiority and white superiority, was proposed that Indigenous people should be allowed to “die out” as it was called. Allowing the natural process of elimination to proceed.
During this debacle, many of the children were placed into institutions where neglect and abuse were commonly committed. Children whose parents were of both Aboriginal and White lineage were removed from their parents, most were called “Half-caste” or “Milky”(which is now deemed derogative towards the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people).
Largely due to their light skin colour, some were adopted into white families. Their names were changed, they were taught to reject their Aboriginal Heritage and be forced to think and adopt all aspects of the White Culture(“White Fella Ways”). Some were told their parents or family members had died or abandoned them, so they would be more easily coerced into staying in line. Many families never saw each other again.
As time passed and entered into a new generation, public frustration and pressure on the Government to listen to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people grew. The Assimilation, in which the State and Federal Government Agencies as well as those well-funded Church Missions, had concocted had now been seen as a complete and utter failure.
They believed it failed due to the White Society(“White Fella”), with whom were refusing to accept Indigenous people as equals, regardless of what they had to endure.
In 1995, Prime Minister Paul Keating and his Government issued a inquiry and report into the forcible removal of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. In that report, the estimation of between 10% and 33%(approx 100,000) of Indigenous children were separated from their families between 1870 to 1970. They acknowledged social values and standards and concluded that the policies of the children being removed breached several fundamental human rights acts.
This report was delievered to Parliment on the 26th May 1997, but although PM Paul Keating first issued the report into the Stolen Generation, as it is now named appropriately. It was received by the new PM John Howard, however, it was largely ignored due to skeptism of the report. Alas, nothing was done and it was swept away again. Making the public, even more impatient and still unheard.
It wasn’t until 2007, when a new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was elected, that times were about to change for the better. Finally, after so many decades of not being heard and being forgotten. PM Kevin Rudd made a solemn promise to Nationaly Apologise to the Stolen Generation and on the 13th February 2008, he fulfilled that promise.
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