February 13 is an important date to acknowledge, because the effects of past policies on Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander families and communities has been profound and continues today.
2019 marks the 11th Anniversary of the National Apology for the members of the Stolen Generations. If you are not sure about this day here are some things you should know.
1. The Speech
On 13 February 2008, then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd delivered a speech apologising to the Stolen Generations on behalf of the Australian Government. Watch it here, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RThkO3XBThs
2. Sorry Day (May 26) and the anniversary of the National Apology are two separate days
Since 1998 'Sorry Day' has been held on May 26, taking place one year after The Bringing Them Home Report was tabled in parliament. Having a day to commemorate was one of the recommendation of this report. The anniversary of the National Apology commemorates the event which Kevin Rudd made the formal apology to Australia's Indigenous Peoples' and those whose lives had been blighted by past government policies of forced child removal and assimilation
3. Bringing Them Home Report
The final report by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC), The Bringing Them Home Report, was tabled in parliament in 1997.
4. National Apology is not intended to 'forgive and forget'
An apology and acknowledgement for the Stolen Generations was only part of the 54 recommendations included in The Bringing Them Home report. It is not the end of matters of the Stolen Generations.
5. Songs from the Stolen Generations
Songs have always been an importance medium of storytelling both in and outside community. Also as a gateway for helping people find empathy for the experience of others. Watch here, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ewkw3UpB54
6.'Sorry' is an important part of healing
Many of us may feel let down by the apology or lack of action since but it is still importance to acknowledge the emotions felt by survivors.
7. The Healing Foundation
The Healing Foundation was established one year after the Apology. According to their website, "The Healing Foundation is a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation that partners with communities to address the ongoing trauma caused by actions like the forced removal of children from their families. Our work helps people create a different future." Head over to their website to find resources, news, stories and read about the work they do in our communities. https://healingfoundation.org.au/
For more information and full article head to https://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/article/2017/02/13/10-things-you-should-know-about-national-apology