THE STOLEN GENERATION The 'Stolen Generation' is the expression used to describe the Aboriginal people of Australia who

were forcibly removed from their families as children between 1900s and the 1960s, to be brought up by white foster families or institutions. The practice became commonplace and, in fact, government policy, as did the wide-spread killing of Aboriginal people. "The newspapers, the parliamentary Hansards, the diaries which set out the Australian record plainly and clearly in black and white show beyond doubt that most whites on the frontier were well aware that Aboriginal people were being murdered in very large numbers," states historian Professor Marcia Langton. Removal of Aboriginal children was still taking place well into the 1960s and ‘70s, especially if they were light-skinned or mixed-race. Mothers smeared their children with black clay, or held them over a fire to try to darken their skin, or hid them in hollow logs to avoid "welfare" workers from taking their children. "Good intentions were there [on the part of church and state], but behind that, particularly in the 1930s and right through to the 1940s was this quite deliberate plan to breed the Aborigines out." A key turning point was the 1994 Going Home Conference in Darwin. Representatives from every state and territory met to share experiences, to bring to light the history and its effects in each jurisdiction and to devise strategies to meet the needs of those children and their families who survive. On 11 May 1995, the then Attorney-General, Michael Lavarch MP, referred the issue of past and present practices of separation of Indigenous children from their families to the Commission. Be tw e e n 1910 and 1970 up to 100, 000 Abor iginal ch ild re n w ere tak e n fo r cibly or und er dure ss f ro m th e ir f am ilie s by po lice or we lf are of f ice rs . Mos t w er e und e r 5 ye ar s o ld . T h er e w as r ar e ly any jud icia l pro ce s s . T o be Abor iginal was e no ugh . T h e y ar e know n as th e ‘Sto le n G e ner atio ns ’. wh a t ha p pe ne d to th e m ? • • • Mos t w er e r ais e d in Ch ur ch or s tate ins titutio ns . So m e wer e fo s ter ed or ado pte d by w h ite p ar e nts . Many s uff e re d ph ys ica l and s e xual abuse . Fo od and liv ing co nd itio ns wer e poo r. T he y re ce iv e d litt le e d ucatio n, and w ere e xpe cte d to go into low grade domestic and farming work.

wh y we re th e y ta ke n? T he y w ere take n be c ause it w as Fe de r al and State G o ve r nm e nt po licy th at Abor iginal ch ildr e n - es pe cia lly th o se o f mixe d Abor iginal and Eur o pe an de s ce nt - sh o uld be re mo ve d fr om th e ir par e nts . Be tw e e n 10 and 30% of all A bo rigina l ch ildr e n w ere rem ov e d, and in s om e pla ce s th e s e po li cie s co ntinue d into th e 1970s .

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T he m ain m o tiv e so cie ty ov er o ne Abor iginalit y. Spe ak ing th e ir fo r bid d e n T he y w ere take n

w as to ‘ass im ilate ’ A bo rigina l ch ild re n into Euro pe a n or two ge ner atio ns by de nyin g and d es tro ying the ir l anguage s and pr actis ing th e ir cer em o nie s was

m ile s fr om the ir co untr y, s om e ov er se as

T he pre v io us Libe r al/N atio nal Co ali tio n Go v er nm e nt incre as e d so me f und ing but h as ref us ed to apo lo gis e or o ff e r co m pe ns atio n. Aus tr alia e le cte d a new G ov e r nm e nt o n 24th No v em be r 2007 - its po li cy is to m ake a f or mal apo lo gy to the Sto le n Ge ne r atio ns .

On 13 Febr uar y Kev in Rudd Prim e Minis ter - m ade the firs t item of Aus tr alia's new go ver nm ent an officia l a po lo gy to the Sto len Generatio ns . The apo lo gy receiv ed bi par tis an sup por t.
T he G ov e r nm e nt h as s tated th er e w ill be no co m pe ns atio n f und . By around the age of 18 the children were released from government control and where it was available were sometimes allowed to view their government file. According to the testimony of one Aboriginal person: I was requested to attend at the Sunshine Welfare Offices, where they formerly discharged me from State wardship. It took the Senior Welfare Officer a mere 20 minutes to come clean, and tell me everything that my heart had always wanted to know...that I was of 'Aboriginal descent', that I had a Natural mother, father, three brothers and a sister, who were alive...He placed in front of me 368 pages of my file, together with letters, photos and birthday cards. He informed me that my surname would change back to my Mother's maiden name of Angus.[53] I've got everything that could be reasonably expected: a good home environment, education, stuff like that, but that's all material stuff. It's all the non-material stuff that I didn't have — the lineage... You know, you've just come out of nowhere; there you are.[42]

YouTube Video: [transcript]: The removal of the aboriginal children from their families and their traditional lands began in the late 1800’s and continued until the late 1960s and 1970s. The children, who were removed from their homes and families during this period, became known as the Stolen Generation. The removal of children affected almost every indigenous family at the time and had a very deep impact on the aboriginals until this very day. The denial of contact with family and friends meant that the children lost many years of love, affection, care and education about their indigenous heritage. The family of the child also felt great sadness and loss because the child was no longer with them. Many of the Stolen Generation children grew up confused about their identity. This left many children unsure of their place in society.