Bookends Project Officer Anastasia Moore was at Mount Druitt for the Anniversary of the Apology to the Stolen Generations on 13 February. Here is her report from the event.
The Mt Druitt and District Reconciliation Group hosted the Commemoration of the 2008 Apology at Holy Family Centre, Emerton on 13 February and it was a successful event. The event was also sponsored by Baabayn Aboriginal Corporation and The Healing Foundation.
Local Elder Uncle Greg opened the gathering with a Welcome to Country followed by Uncle Wes Marne who conducted the Smoking Ceremony. All were invited to be smoked in a traditional ceremony which seeks to cleanse and to ward off bad spirits.
As part of the gathering, anyone who wanted to share their story was invited to speak. Whilst for many, the pain is still very deep, they feel talking about it helps them heal a little bit more.
It became clear that the common reported legacies of the survivors of the Stolen Generation were that:
- individuals found it hard to trust anybody
- the public Apology, while well-deserved, doesn’t take the pain and suffering away
- there are ongoing mental health issues
- there are ongoing devastating effects on the men and on their self-esteem especially for those who were sexually abused.
Despite the harrowing emotional outpouring, all the speakers said they had hope for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people to genuinely help with the pain, with helping those incarcerated, with closing the gap with health and education by providing their skill and shared resources.
The younger generation are acknowledging the past wrongs and are contributing in positive ways and continually instilling positive values in the youth.
Video: Local Elder Uncle Wes Marne leads the community in a Smoking Ceremony.
Below are a couple of events for Sydneysiders that are being run by the younger generation.
- May 19th – Mt Druitt Reconciliation Walk (Mt Druitt and District Reconciliation Group)
- May 25th – Blacktown City Council are putting on a Heeling Feeling Gathering. Look up Council’s website from 1st April for further information.
Visit the Bookends Project Calendar for more upcoming events across Australia.