The Removal of Children from Aboriginal Parents in Australia

The Removal of Children from Aboriginal Parents in Australia

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Focus Question 1- Why did the Australian Government decide to take the children and what led up to this?
The Australian Government believed that in the early 1900’s in order to maintain white culture they should subject all indigenous to their beliefs. The removal of children from Aboriginal parents was not a new idea, it had been happening for almost a decade before becoming the Stolen Generation. The removal policy was stepped up with the introduction of the assimilation policy. The whites believed that they were the dominant culture and their way of life and culture was the only way. Throughout the stolen generation the Australian public were led to believe that Aboriginal children were disadvantaged in their own homes and would benefit more in a white household. The “Aboriginal Protection Board” believed that if the children were living in white families being separated from their families, community, land and culture it would eventually phase out the indigenous peoples. However this decision to remove the children was not beneficial and has caused much hatred from the Aboriginals toward the Australian government.
Focus Question 2- What were the consequences of the Stolen Generation?
The Stolen Generation was an epic historic event in Australia’s history with many repercussions and consequences. Some of the consequences include depression, mistrust, culture loss and many other emotional long term effects. The children were not allowed to see their families and told they were orphans to prevent them looking for their real families. They were banned from speaking their native language or following their culture, given minimal education, provided with poor food and living conditions, and expected to move into low-grade domestic or farming work. Often they were also physically or sexually abused. It is for these reasons that even today many Aboriginals have emotionally long term effects and carry these events from the 1900’s to their grave.
Focus Question 3: What changed after Kevin Rudd’s sorry speech and the Bringing Them Home Report (BTHR)?
The Stolen Generation endured many hardships; however there have been events such as the 2008 Sorry Speech by Kevin Rudd and the Bringing Them Home Report (BTHR) in 1997 which helped many Aboriginals develop closure. The BTHR was the first acknowledgment from the Australian Government that The Stolen Generation was an event in Australia’s history that they were sorry for. The report included documentation of Aboriginals who has been removed from their homes as children which contradicted the ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights’.

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After the report, many Aboriginals felt relieved that finally the Australians were recognizing their wrongs towards their people and this gave them some peace of mind. However, it was not a full apology and many Aboriginals still felt resentment after the BTHR. 11 years later Australia’s Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made a speech for the Aboriginals that finally gave them closure, this speech is known in Australia as the ‘Sorry Speech of 2008’. Kevin Rudd had finally apologised formally on behalf of the Australian Government for their wrongs of The Stolen Generation. After this speech many Aboriginals felt closure and accepted this apology and moved forward, “I feel great, I’m on top of the world. I’m floating on air, it’s a big weight lifted off my shoulders and is the closure I need.” Stated by Archie Roach, an Aboriginal, who was a victim of the Stolen Generation. Many Aboriginals felt that the speech truly was genuine and it changed the way they viewed the Australian Government.
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