Over the years as Australia Day is celebrated , my thoughts go to the Indigenous Australians and understand why many of them could consider this to be a day of mourning. The dispossession of their lands and the bitter conflict they faced as they were forced into settlements, reserves and missions and with their children removed to be brought up as “whites” while their Indigenous family and culture was considered detrimental to their welfare , affected generations.
Assimilation policies and the racist White Australia policy denied Indigenous people their rightful place in the developing Australian society. However, due to the combined efforts of Indigenous leaders, and community activists , 250,000 people marched over the Sydney Harbour Bridge in May, 2000 to say “sorry”. This strong public action expressed the sentiments of the great majority of people who voted in the 1967 referendum to count, for the first time, Indigenous people in the Australian population.
Such public support for Indigenous Australians was also shown by the widespread response to the heartfelt Apology to the Stolen Generations. However, there is still a lot of unfinished business to be undertaken by all, and a treaty is one of the many issues to be resolved.
– Keith McEwan, Bonython ACT