The 13 February 2017 was the ninth anniversary of the Australian Government’s formal apology for the Stolen Generations. From 1910 to 1970, up to one third of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children (100,000 children) were forcibly removed from their families and sent away from their communities. They were classified according to their skin colour and put into Christian missionaries where they suffered abuse and neglect, or they were placed with White foster families who did not understand their needs. These children were forced to forget their language, culture and spirituality, and in many cases they were not told of their Indigenous heritage.
The Bringing Them Home report of 1997 gathered evidence of the impact this cultural genocide had on Indigenous Australians, showing that it led to intergenerational trauma, poor health, and socio-economic issues. The report made 54 important recommendations to end the cycle of violence against Indigenous Australians.
Twenty years later, Indigenous children are being removed from their families up to four times the rate as the Bringing Them Home report.
National Sorry Day commemorates regret for the historical mistreatment of Indigenous Australians. It also symbolises the need for our nation to address the ongoing socio-economic disadvantage of our Indigenous population as a result of colonialism, including these facts:
Indigenous people have a life expectancy that is up to 11.5 lower than the national average
Indigenous people are six times as likely to die through homicide, with 65% of these deaths involving alcohol. This connection between homicide and alcohol rate is three times the national average
Indigenous people are 12 times more likely to be hospitalised for assault, and four times more likely to be hospitalised for alcohol-related mental and behavioural disorders
Indigenous child mortality rates are up to three times higher relative to other kids, and Indigenous children are twice as likely to be admitted to hospital
Indigenous youth are 20 times more likely to be detained in custody
Indigenous students graduate high school at half the rate of other Australians.