Saturday, February 16, 2008

Official Apologies for Australia's Stolen Generation

Our friends over at Wikipedia offer the following definition for Aborigine:Indigenous peoples, Displaced peoples with a prior or historical ownership of a land, and who maintain (at least in part) their distinct traditions and association with the land, and are differentiated in some way from the surrounding populations and dominant nation-state culture and governance. (Excerpt from

Let's face it the plight of the Aborigine people doesn't exactly light up the headlines of mainstream media outlets in the US. Most of what my mind absorbed about Aborigine people came from the images I gleamed from superficial sanitized slices of world culture littered across the various media platforms I grew up with.

'Crocodile Dundee' was really the first time I can consciously recall seeing Aborigine characters portrayed on film with a sense of humanity.

Bruce Trevorrow's harrowing account of being taken from the Adelaide Children's hospital in South Australia when he was an infant opened my eyes to a different dimension of the aborigene experience that I had not honestly considered let alone explored before.

Trevorrow (pictured above) and scores of aborigine children like him were removed from their Aborigine families by agencies of the state, or those acting on their behalf, and adopted and raised by white Australian families with the consent and complacency of the government.

The scores of Aborigines who endured similar fates has attracted a wide range of media attention, garnering mentions here in the US and around the globe, from NPR radio to the "ABC News Website"

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made headlines across the globe recently when he offered an official apology on behalf of the Australian government to the Aborigine people.
Though it might not seem so to many puzzled by the logic or need of such a statement it's a huge step.

It's a statement, an official recognition of events. That's a long way from snatching children from people's families. A number of US states have issued apologies for the government's role in slavery to no small amount of controversy. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair apologized for Britain's Role in the slave trade.

Real healing in the cultural sense must begin with an objective analysis of the past. It's the only way to really affect the present and build a positive foundation for the future.

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