Between 1910 and 1970 up to 100,000 Aboriginal children, in a so called democratic and civilised country of Australia, were taken forcibly or under duress from their families by police or welfare officers .
Most were under 5 years old. There was rarely any judicial process. To be Aboriginal was enough. They are known as the ‘Stolen Generations’.
what happened to them?what happened to them?
* Most were raised in Church or state institutions. Some were fostered or adopted by white parents.
* Many suffered physical and sexual abuse. Food and living conditions were poor.
* They received little education, and were expected to go into low grade domestic and farming work.
why where they taken?why were they taken?
They were taken because it was Federal and State Government policy that Aboriginal children - especially those of mixed Aboriginal and European descent - should be removed from their parents.
Between 10 and 30% of all Aboriginal children were removed, and in some places these policies continued into the 1970s.
* The main motive was to ‘assimilate’ Aboriginal children into European society over one or two generations by denying and destroying their Aboriginality.
* Speaking their languages and practising their ceremonies was forbidden
* They were taken miles from their country, some overseas
* Parents were not told where their children were and could not trace them
* Children were told that they were orphans
* Family visits were discouraged or forbidden; letters were destroyed.
what where the resultswhat were the results
The physical and emotional damage to those taken away was profound and lasting:
* Most grew up in a hostile environment without family ties or cultural identity.
* As adults, many suffered insecurity, lack of self esteem, feelings of worthlessness, depression, suicide, violence, delinquency, abuse of alcohol and drugs and inability to trust.
* Lacking a parental model, many had difficulty bringing up their own children.
* The scale of separation also had profound consequences for the whole Aboriginal community - anger, powerlessness and lack of purpose as well as an abiding distrust of Government, police and officials.