Australian Aboriginal leader on National Reconciliation Week | Pacific Beat

Australian Aboriginal leader on National Reconciliation Week

Australian Aboriginal leader on National Reconciliation Week

Updated 1 June 2012, 10:18 AEST

This week in Australia was National Reconciliation Week. It's held at this time each year to celebrate and build on the respectful relationships shared by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians.

Immediately preceding the week is National Sorry Day which is held on 26th May each year and remembers two key events in Australia's history, which provide strong symbols for reconciliation:

In May 1967 - the referendum that saw more than 90 per cent of Australians vote to give the Australian Government power to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and recognise them in the census.

On the 3rd of June 1992 - the Australian High Court delivered the Mabo decision, which recognised that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a special relationship with the land. This paved the way for land rights known as native title.

The Stolen Generations - Stolen children were the children of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who were removed from their families by the Australian Federal Government, government agencies and church missions.

Most of the forced removals came without notice causing much trauma and heartache for the families and communities involved.

The removals occurred in the period between approximately 1869 and 1969, but in some places children were still being taken until the 1970s.

The motivations for the removals are various - among them child protection and catastrophic population decline after white contact and the fear the aboriginal people would die out.

Presenter: Geraldine Coutts

Speaker: Professor Mark Rose from the G'uhn-didg-uh-mara Nation in Western Victoria and chair for Indigenous Knowledge Systems, Institute for Koori Education Deakin University

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