How do you make up for a historical loss of families caused by the government, and church missionaries? This was the question that brought about the memorial National Sorry Day in Australia.
Related media: What Is National Sorry Day?
The Story Of Sorry Day
Also known as the National Day of Healing, the National Sorry Day is held annually on May 26, to raise awareness of, and commemorate the maltreatment of the Indigenous people of Australia — the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
As far back as 1905, these people were forcefully taken away from their own families, communities, and culture. They were referred to as “half-caste” children or “Stolen Generations.”
And for many decades, this forceful separation of children from their families continued with the intention of assimilating them into white Australian culture. These children were put in training homes, lost their names and identities, and never saw their families again. Sadly, the effects of these traumatic events still live with the present generations up till today.
Whence Cometh Sorry Day?
The first National Sorry Day was on May 26, 1998, after Kevin Rudd, who was Australia’s Prime Minister at the time, formally apologized on behalf of the Australian government and its people.
He expressed “deep and heartfelt remorse for the injustices done to Indigenous Australians as a result of historical practices, as well as the pain and suffering that many Indigenous people have experienced and continue to experience as a result of those practices.”
A massive crowd had gathered that day in schools, offices, and public squares all around the nation, as well as outside Parliament House in Canberra’s Great Hall and other locations, with many people sobbing, cheering, and clapping.
The apology came after a series of protests by Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, and then a report demanding a formal apology to the Stolen Generations was sent to parliament. Part of the report recommended that funds should be released to help resolve the aftermath of the removal policy.
Still Sorry Till Date
Up till today, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are still being reconciled with the settler population.
The National Sorry Day is usually followed by National Reconciliation Week, which begins on May 27, to celebrate the relationship that exists between the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians.
The so-called “Stolen Generations” are now strengthened for their healing process. Every National Sorry Daystudents and staff are clad in the purple native hibiscus, which is the official symbol for Sorry Day.
The handcrafted Native Hibiscus, also known as the National Sorry Day flower, has five petals that represent the Stolen Generations’ dispersion and their tenacity in the face of Australian eugenics laws.
Let us know if you’re an Aboriginal Australian.
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Written by: Gloria Aimanehin, Thu, Mar 02, 2023.