The Stolen Aboriginal Children of Australia

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					   The Stolen
Aboriginal Children
   of Australia
      Arthur Hall
      March 2010
             Newspaper Appeal
              1930s in Darwin


•   Picture taken in an orphanage in Darwin
•   Minister for the Interior makes appeal
•   „Who will take these children?“
•   Notice the cross (and where it is!)
•   A white Australian lady had made her choice
                  She wrote
• “I like the little girl in centre of group, but if
  taken by anyone else, any of the others
  would do, as long as they are strong“.
               Outcasts
• People in Melbourne and Sydney
• Should take the children
  “to rescue them from becoming outcasts“



Here they wait in a camp…
         Systematic genocide
• „This was part of a long term government plan to
  assimilate Indigenous people into the dominant
  white community by removing the children from
  their families at as young an age as possible,
  preferably at birth, cutting them off from their
  own place, language and customs, and thereby
  somehow bleaching aboriginality from Australian
  society.“
           » Carmel Bird author of ‘The Stolen Children – their stories‘
    The effect on those children
• feeling of emptiness,
• of having a sense of a hole in their hearts
• loss of family, language, culture, identity
• catalogue of the abuses they suffered at the hands of
  white families and missionaries
• the original wound is that which was inflicted at the
  moment they were torn from their mothers
• Sometimes this happened with the mother's consent
• the family being tricked into believing the separation
  was for the good of the child who would go away and be
  nurtured and educated and even loved
       Historical background
• “The raping and abduction of women and
  the stealing of children have always been
  part of the story of conquest -- acts which
  brutally illustrate new, imposed
  relationships of dominance, submission
  and humiliation.“
          » Henry Reynolds
            The 1819 situation
• Queensland Native Police officers were well
  known as suppliers of Indigenous children
• When asked the government officials said they
  couldn‘t stop it because:
  –   profitable
  –   Ready market
  –   Settlers eager to boy young boy or girl
  –   Girls as useful as bovs around camp
  –   Girls less likely to run away
  –   Girls provided sex to womanless white men
          20th century tragedy
• State and federal governments decided to remove
  children from their families
• Repetition of the mistakes and cruelties made by
  individuals in the colonial times
• Government took action on a much larger scale
• Culture government departments had little to offer
• They never spent enough money on Indigenous children
• Anything was good enough for them
• Food and clothing were inadequate
• Staff were usually unqualified. Zealots
• Misfits often ended up as supervisors and teachers
• Education was deliberately inferior
            Aborigines handled
             as lesser people
• Aborigines could only do unskilled labour
• Of the lowest kind
• An educated Aborigine was an anomaly who
  could never find an appropriate place in white
  society
• Educated Aborigines were likely trouble-makers
• So-called Cheeky or uppity 'niggers' were
  treated with ruthless brutality in order to keep
  them 'in their place'
    Not all Australians
are insensitive to injustice
        The final acceptance
        of the mistakes made

• Bringing them Home – an inquiry
• Set up by Attorney-General
  Michael Lavarach August 1995

• National Sorry Day
  set up 26th May 1998
     Jan Mayman: ‘Sorry Time‘

• Sorry Time was eerie Music, like a rising wind:
• the song of tribal Aborigines in mourning.
              Afterthoughts
• Australia imprisons its Aborigines at between 19
  and 29 times the rate of the rest of the
  population
• Giving special treatment to Aborigines (more
  warnings, light sentences and so on) treats the
  symptom, not the cause
• It is a solution which allows mainstream
  Australia to deny that there is (as much of) a
  problem, but it does not solve the problem
    No real solution in sight…
• Move them to remote settlements
  – so we can't see the problem
• Take their children away
  – so we can't see them suffering
• Give them three generations of welfare
  – so we don't have to see the suffering
• Try to keep them out of gaol
  – so we don't have to have people protesting
    about the high imprisonment rates
Thanks – any questions?

				
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