Today, 26th May 2017 marks National Sorry Day, a day where children of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Families and Communities were forcibly removed under the Assimilation Act of the late 1800's and more recently throughout the 1940's, 1950's and 1960's.
Last year I was extremely honoured and blessed to work with some of the members of the Stolen Generations Committee, Aunty Florence Onus, Aunty Lorraine Peeters and Uncle Michael Welsh. All survivors of the Stolen Generations each taken away from there respective Families from very young ages, it's hard to even begin to imagine what they and their loved ones went through and continue to go through all these years on.
Thank you all for sharing your stories of courage, sadness, loss and resilience in the face of overwhelming adversity, your stories are truly significant to us not only as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People and also as a Nation. These stories and the stories of many others who suffered under these oppressive policies need to be told and retold as part of the Healing process, for us as a People and also for us as a Nation. Thank you to the Healing Foundation for allowing myself and Diana Salam to work on such an important and significant project for our Nation. The artwork 'Healing Country' and the Bringing Them Home Report #BTH20 identity for the the 20th Anniversary of the Bringing Home Report; - (first tabled in Federal Parliament in 1997).
I was also privileged to work with Aunty Denise Proud and Monique Proud of Positive Social Solutions. Thank you both for your gentle approach to facilitation and the unique cultural connection, understanding and sensitivity you bring allowing Aunty Florence, Aunty Lorraine and Uncle Michael to share there stories, experiences and ideas which in turned helped shape and form the story of the Artwork Healing Country and the #BTH20 Logo. A truly gifted Mother and Daughter team that brings lived experiences over two generations, who have also felt the personal effects of member within their immediate Family.
To all Families in all communities across Australia today I ask you all to remember those who came before us, Members of the Stolen Generations and their Families who suffered the atrocities of the past and continue to survive the challenges of today. We stand together with you to heal our past and build our future.