By Stacey Campton, First Nations woman and Director of Strategy and Development at Children’s Ground
The Bringing Them Home Report is a tribute to the strength and struggles of many thousands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people affected by the forced removal of children from their families. We acknowledge the hardships they endured and the sacrifices they made. We remember and lament all the children who will never come home.
We give thanks to those who found the strength to tell their stories at the National Inquiry Into the Separation of Aboriginal Children from Families established by the Attorney General in 1995. To the generations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people separated from their families and communities – we see you, we honour you and we acknowledge your pain.
Every single Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person has been touched by the Stolen Generations. Whether it is directly, as someone who has experienced a forced removal from family or indirectly, as a descendent of a relative who was removed.
Today we acknowledge the 25th Anniversary of the Bringing Them Home Report – the seminal document that shone a harsh, but truthful light for the first time on the removal of our people from safe, cultural, strong families.
This report also provided several well-considered and achievable recommendations to prevent these atrocities from ever happening again. It provided the platform for the 2008 National Apology to the Stolen Generations from the then Rudd Federal Government. There was also a recommendation around redress or reparation to those people who were stolen, a process which has only just started to roll out slowly over the last two years. Things are moving in the right direction. But, most of the recommendations have not been implemented.
The Bringing Them Home Report captured the stories of those taken and those left behind. It showcased the trauma, injustices, and cruelty our sisters, brothers, cousins, aunties, uncles, grannies and many more were exposed to. This is the public record of how cruel and unforgiving the invasion has been on our people and how it continually affects how we live our lives now.
More importantly, it is a reminder that there are children that never came home. This is something that for those who survived the Stolen Generation, an apology or reparation will never overcome.
So, 25 years on from the delivery of this landmark report by the Australian Human Rights Commission, we must never forget those that had their futures stolen from them and work hard to ensure this never happens again.
Stacey Campton is a First Nations woman of Gunggari descent. Stacey has worked in Indigenous affairs in a number of sectors – government, education and not for profit. Stacey is committed to giving a platform for First Nations people to speak up against injustice and to celebrate our culture, language and diversity.
[Image: Bringing Them Home: https://bth.humanrights.gov.au/us-taken-away-kids/foreword]