Australia’s National Sorry Day, May 26

In searching for something new and different to write about, I came across National Sorry Day, a national holiday in Australia on May 26. The holiday is intended to apologize for the Stolen Generations of Indigenous Australian peoples who were removed from their homes and separated from their families.

On this day the Aboriginal flag is raised and the community comes together in memory of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who were forcibly removed from their communities. In a detailed report called Bringing The Home, the story is told. During the 1950s and ’60’s children were forcibly removed from their homes under the auspices of assimilation. The assimilation process consisted of children being removed from their homes and placed in fostered with non-Indigenous families, with the intent of providing them a better life.

The government policy was ended in 1969. The removal continued into the 1980’s until welfare and community groups began speaking up against this practice citing that it was discriminatory Indigenous people. The group Link-Up (NSW) Aboriginal Corporation was formed to search out and reunite children with their families. Since the 1980s similar organizations have been formed to assist in bringing families back together.

In 2008, Australia’s Prime Minister Kevin Rudd created a motion before Parliament to apologize to the Stolen Generation for the inhuman practices which resulted in the sorrow, grief, and loss when children were separated from their families. The process began in closing the gaps between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples of Australia in regards to education, economics, and health care.

National Sorry Day began in 1998 as a way of bringing reconciliation. Events include concerts, barbecues, signing “sorry books” as a pledge to continue reconciliation, flag raising events, teas and lunches, and other social gatherings. National Sorry day is not recognized as a government holiday.

To learn more visit the National Sorry Day page at timeanddate.com or visit the Australian government’s page for greater detail and to read the Bring Them Home report. Please visit the National Sorry Day website to learn how you can become involved.

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