Celebrating the strength and resilience of Aboriginal people in Western Australia.
Please note: The following article contains discussions about the Stolen Generations, which may be distressing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers. Your mental health is important, so please take care and reach out for support if needed.
February 13 is National Apology Day Anniversary, marking the apology made by former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in 2008 to the Stolen Generations.
The Stolen Generations refers to Indigenous children who were forcibly taken from their families and communities by the Australian government between the late 1800s and late 1970s. This child removal policy aimed to assimilate Indigenous children into white Australian culture, separating them from their community, culture and identity.
However, in the face of such adversity, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities have demonstrated remarkable resilience and strength. Despite the trauma and harm caused by past government policies and the challenges they have faced and still experience, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continue to make valuable contributions to their communities and the broader society through their leadership, creativity, and cultural practices.
These initiatives include community-led programs to improve access to education, health care, employment opportunities, and cultural activities that celebrate and promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and traditions.
One such example is YOKAI, a human rights initiative developed by the Bringing Them Home Committee (WA) and the WA Stolen Generations. YOKAI addresses the needs of individuals and families adversely affected by policies and practices of separating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from their family, community, country and culture.
At Murdoch University, we acknowledge the ongoing impact of past policies on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We also recognise the important role that First Nations people play in shaping the future of Western Australia.
This includes a commitment to understanding and addressing the ongoing impact of colonialism, racism and other forms of systemic oppression faced by Indigenous peoples. Through its teaching, research, and community engagement programs, Murdoch is working to support Indigenous communities and promote reconciliation and justice.
One of the key ways that Murdoch is supporting Indigenous communities is through the Kulbardi Centre and its many initiatives and programs to provide staff and students with the opportunity to learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture, and perspectives. Their work over many years have been at the heart of Murdoch’s efforts to address the educational inequities that have arisen from policies such as the Stolen Generation.
This National Apology Day Anniversary, we encourage the Murdoch University community to take a moment to reflect on the importance of this day and to join us in acknowledging the ongoing effects of past policies and how we can all committing promote and commit to reconciliation and healing at our own level.
Call to action:
- Familiarise yourself with the significance of this date
- Listen to the survivor’s stories shared through Stolen Generations Testimonies
- Explore the map of Stolen Generations Institutions
- In the year of the referendum, familiarise yourself with the Voice to parliament