acknowledge all injustices practiced before on Aboriginal people: [Reconciliation] begins, I think, with that act of recognition. Recognition that it was we who did the dispossessing. We took the traditional lands and smashed the traditional way of life. We brought the diseases. The alcohol. We committed the murders. We took the children from their mothers. We practiced discrimination and exclusion. It was our ignorance and our prejudice. And our failure to imagine these things being done to us (Keating qtd. in Attwood 201). Before the process of reconciliation can occur it is important that the truth about past experience is spoken about and acknowledged by all Australians. The practice of forced removals of half-caste children was fully brought to public attention with the release of the Bringing Them Home: A Report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families , which was
41 commissioned in 1995 and tabled in 1997, and which contains figures of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission (Schaffer and Smith 104-108). This important event in the Australian history commissioned by the Keating government ―changed the conditions for the recept ion and reading of My Place ‖ and other autobiographical narratives written by Aboriginal people (Kennedy 237). Both works I am dealing with in my thesis highlight many of the themes and issues raised in Bringing Them Home . In this report, authors spoke to more than five hundred Aboriginal people whose lives have been directly affected by the child removal policies. While the stories of submissions differed according to the person or place they grew up, many Aboriginal people had common experience that is outlined in the Bringing Them Home community guide. Bringing Them Home Inquiry includes testimony and narration specifically about racial oppression and debates about race relations. This report also strictly condemned the policy of disconnecting children from their cultural heritage (Schaffer and Smith 104-108). We do not know exactly how many children were victims of the forcible removal; but, the report suggested that somewhere between one in three and one in ten Aboriginal children were separated from their families. 2 I tend to consider this number so high that it is almost unbelievable that non-Aboriginal people were not able to protest against this cruel practice for such a long time. It seems to me that one of the most important aspects of Bringing Them Home was to see the permanence of the grief many Aboriginal mothers experienced. The report also concentrated on family reunions and parenting programmes, and it called for a number of reparations, including financial compensation. The conclusion of the report states, 2 The information about the number of removed children is taken from Celermajer ‘s article ― The Stolen Generation: Aboriginal Ch ildren in Australia‖ .
42 Indigenous families and communities have endured gross violations of their human rights. These violations continue to affect Indigenous people‘s daily
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