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Date: Thu, 22 May 97 09:52:46 CDT
From: Civil_Rights_World_Watch@Juno.Com
Subject: OZ: Whitewashing "BLACKNESS"/Human Rights Down Under The USA

A Stolen Generation Cries Out

By Michael Perry, Reuter
20 May 1997

SYDNEY, May 20 - Haunting voices of elderly Aborigines tell of babies being snatched from their mother's breast by police on horseback in Australia's outback.

Black and white film shows rows of Aboriginal children with empty faces, dressed in striped uniforms reminiscent of Nazi concentration camps, and others bent over sweeping the dirt with their bare hands.

The Australian Archives exhibition travelling the country titled "Between Two Worlds" reveals a dark chapter in Australia's past when it attempted to breed out Aborigines.

Tens of thousands of Aboriginal children were forcibly taken from their parents under a government policy of assimilation from the 1880s to the 1960s. Those children are called the "Stolen Generation" or "People of the Bleaching."

"It clearly was attempted genocide," Sir Ronald Wilson, president of Australia's Human Rights Commission, told Reuters. "It was believed that the Aboriginal people would die out."


Today, thousands of Aborigines face a life of family breakdowns, drug and alcohol abuse, violence and mental anguish they say is directly linked to being taken from their parents.

Social Justice Commissioner Mick Dodson has just completed a year-long national inquiry into the Stolen Generation and he, too, said it was an attempt at genocide.

Dodson's report is now before the government and is expected to formally charge Australia with attempted genocide and call for an apology and compensation, possibly millions of dollars.

"Certainly an apology is a very good beginning in healing what is a real sore, a real wound in the Australian pysche," said Aboriginal leader Dodson. "There's this huge scar that we have to perhaps re-open in order to heal."

Joy Williams is a Stolen Generation child. Her mother Dora was taken away when she was 10 hours old, Joy was taken at seven hours and Joy's daughter Julie Anne at 10 months. The only reason ever given was the colour of their skin.

"How do you assist a nation of people who are grieving because this policy affected every Aboriginal community in Australia?" demands Williams, one of hundreds of Aborigines suing Australia's national and state governments.

"You have a nation in mourning and nothing is being done," Williams said angrily.


Many Aboriginal children were raised on government and church missions in remote, outback locations where life was tough and sexual abuse widespread.

Wilson said Aboriginal children were used as virtual slaves and one in 10 were sexually assaulted. "The children would be stripped naked and tied to a post in the yard to be flogged for some minor misdemeanour," he said.

"We have had mothers say to us, 'I'm a rotten mother. I don't know how to cuddle my baby', and then add, 'The only time I have ever been cuddled was when I was being raped'."

Australia's churches have apologised for their part in what they say was a Nazi-style policy of assimilation. They admit their role was was to break the Aboriginal spirit.

"People believed that if we were going to make good Catholics or Christians out of the Aboriginal people we had to take them away from what we would have seen as pagan influences...," said Catholic Bishop Pat Power.

Dodson said Aboriginal Australia is today dysfunctional as a result, with family breakdowns endemic and drug and aclohol abuse widespread. Aboriginal juveniles are 30 times more likely to be jailed and also suffer the country's highest suicide rate.

"Every story is its own little tragedy, that amount to a national tragedy," Dodson said. "They were told 'your parents are dead, your mother's a drunk, your mother's a whore, your mother's no good, she doesn't want you'."


Archie Roach, a leading Aboriginal musician, is a Stolen Generation child who has searched all his life for his identity.

"I don't remember much because I was only three, but I do remember running with my cousin down to the river and hiding in the bracken and under sticks," Roach said.

As a child Roach was sent to several white foster homes -- one family forced him to eat raw potatoes and sleep in the grain shed. He only discovered he was Aboriginal at 11, and at 14 his lost sister wrote him a letter saying his mother had died.

"I don't know what my mother looks like," Roach said.

For years Roach lived on the streets searching for his (family). [REUTER]

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