Today marks the historic Apology to the Stolen Generations. They still await justice.
Shannan Dodson, CEO, The Healing Foundation
The National Apology to the Stolen Generations, delivered by the Australian Government on this day in 2008, recognised the truth of our history.
The Healing Foundation CEO Shannan Dodson described the Apology as “bringing hope that Stolen Generations survivor voices would drive individual, community, and national healing.”
Instead each year we focus on the delivery of a government report card.
We acknowledge that Closing the Gap is critical work, but having that report card delivered each year on the anniversary of the Apology has unfortunately overshadowed the stories, voices and still unheard calls for justice from the Stolen Generations.
We remind Australians that February 13 is about survivors, it is about truth.
As we hear today about Closing the Gap, The Healing Foundation points to the poorer health, social and emotional wellbeing and economic outcomes experienced by Stolen Generations survivors and their descendants.
As the Stolen Generations age, urgency grows.
“In 2024 many survivors have still not had access to redress schemes, a cornerstone of the Bringing Them Home report that was delivered by my father nearly 30 years ago.” Ms. Dodson said.
Survivors are ageing and face multiple challenges stemming from histories of forced removal, many will not access aged care services as a result. Dementia and depression in later life can trigger past traumas of institutionalisation. A trauma that for too many will lie unrested.
The Stolen Generations are a ‘gap within the gap’, a statistical indicator of truth not reconciled.
The day is about survivors, and we must honour the original intent of the day, which was to acknowledge the ongoing impact of the policies of the past.
We invite Australians to stand alongside Stolen Generations survivors as we renew our call for the counting of actions, not anniversaries.