Apology reminds us there’s still much work to do

a member of the Baabayn Aboriginal Corporation speaks at the National Apology to the Stolen Generations event at Emerton parish in western Sydney (Parramatta Diocese)

The 13th anniversary of the National Apology to the Stolen Generations reminds us that we have much work to do to heal intergenerational trauma inflicted on families, writes Patrice Moriarty. Source: Catholic Outlook.

The Mt Druitt and District Reconciliation Group and the Baabayn Aboriginal Corporation gathered at Holy Family Parish, Emerton, to remember the apology by then prime minister Kevin Rudd on February 13, 2008.

In a powerful truth-telling experience, those in attendance heard from Indigenous elders Uncle Greg, Uncle John and his daughter, Aunty Rita, and the Baabayn elders who spoke of the effect of the Stolen Generation policies in their own lives.

Uncle John and Aunty Rita spoke of being forcibly removed from their families and in some cases suffering abuse and being unable to reconnect back with members of their families before they passed. Aunty Rita told of meeting her mother but being unable to recognise her the first time.

Given the fundamental role families play in all our lives, these policies have had long-lasting effects, and the commemoration of the Apology reminds us that we have much work to do to heal intergenerational trauma inflicted on families.

Uncle John’s daughter and Cass from Baabayn spoke about how being descendants of people who were removed affected them and their knowledge of their family, too.

Even amidst this sorrow, the resilience and strength of the uncles, aunties and community shone throughout the evening. Their courageous witness to their lives and advocacy for the truth to continue to be shared are an example to us all of the power of the human spirit and the powerful culture of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

Patrice Moriarty is the Social Justice Coordinator in the Diocese of Parramatta.


Commemorating the anniversary of the Apology to the Stolen Generation (By Patrice Moriarty, Catholic Outlook

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