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sorry

Mulgana Mia Dancers, Carnarvon Civic Centre, Western Australia, February 13 2008.

 

Today the Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologised to the "Stolen Generation", children taken away from their parents because of their skin colour.

 

The view was that by removing Aboriginal children from their families they could gradually be absorbed into the non-Aboriginal population. One of the main proponents of this was A. O. Neville, the Chief Protector of Aborigines in WA from 1915 to 1940.

 

Mr Neville held the view that within 100 years the pure black would be extinct. The idea was to keep pure blacks segregated and absorb half-castes into the white population… "Perhaps it will take one hundred years, perhaps longer, but the race is dying.'" - Mr Neville

 

Neville argued that forcible removal of Aboriginal children was necessary in order for them to be truly absorbed into European society and that the 'whiter' the child was the more easily this could be achieved. He claimed that after two or three generations the process of acceptance in the non-Indigenous community would be complete, the older generations would have died out and the settlements could be closed.

 

As a not particularly Indigenous Australian i also offer my humble and unqualified apology to the Stolen Generations.

 

"This story's right, this story's true

I would not tell lies to you

Like the promises they did not keep

And how they fenced us in like sheep.

Said to us come take our hand

Sent us off to mission land.

Taught us to read, to write and pray

Then they took the children away,

Took the children away,

The children away.

Snatched from their mother's breast

Said this is for the best

Took them away.

 

The welfare and the policeman

Said you've got to understand

We'll give them what you can't give

Teach them how to really live.

Teach them how to live they said

Humiliated them instead

Taught them that and taught them this

And others taught them prejudice.

You took the children away

The children away

Breaking their mothers heart

Tearing us all apart

Took them away

 

One dark day on Framingham

Come and didn't give a damn

My mother cried go get their dad

He came running, fighting mad

Mother's tears were falling down

Dad shaped up and stood his ground.

He said 'You touch my kids and you fight me'

And they took us from our family.

Took us away

They took us away

Snatched from our mother's breast

Said this was for the best

Took us away.

 

Told us what to do and say

Told us all the white man's ways

Then they split us up again

And gave us gifts to ease the pain

Sent us off to foster homes

As we grew up we felt alone

Cause we were acting white

Yet feeling black

 

One sweet day all the children came back

The children come back

The children come back

Back where their hearts grow strong

Back where they all belong

The children came back

Said the children come back

The children come back

Back where they understand

Back to their mother's land

The children come back

 

Back to their mother

Back to their father

Back to their sister

Back to their brother

Back to their people

Back to their land

All the children come back

The children come back

The children come back

Yes I came back."

 

- Archie Roach

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Taken on February 13, 2008