National Sorry Day 26 May

26 May 2015 | General Interest

 

Chloe James 

Late May provides us with the opportunity to reflect on our relations with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, with National Sorry Day on 26 May and National Reconciliation Week commencing on 27 May.

These dates commemorate two significant events in the journey towards reconciliation:

  • the 1967 referendum on 27 May (giving the Commonwealth the power to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and recognise them in the national census) and
  • the High Court Mabo decision (which legally recognised that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a special relationship to the land. It was a precursor to the land rights legislation, called Native Title).

Celebrating this week each year is an opportunity to take fresh action for change in our schools, workplaces and communities.

Below an inspirational reflective piece from Chloe James in 9 Gold;

 “I stand  proud of my heritage of being an Aboriginal woman of the Yorta Yorta tribe (mob). Justice and being treated with equality is what my people hold close to our hearts.

On 13th February 2008 an apology from the previous Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd on the ‘Stolen Generation’  was voiced in public. He apologised especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country.

Members of my family and friends that are part of the Stolen Generation share stories that are inspirational but also quite sad. Inspirational in the sense that they are now their own people with their own families. They endured the most difficult times some reaching breaking point. They’re the people that inspire me the most. With my mum working in an Aboriginal community I do get to meet many people one of whom is Raymond Marks. Ray was a victim of the 'Stolen Generation' taken from his parents and forced to live a 'white person' life. In the short time I have know him, he has taught me general respect for elders and other members, by calling male and females either cousin, sister, brother uncle or aunty. Dispite his past hardship he is good company, he loves to talk and laugh. He is a gentle good hearted person that I am grateful to know.