Date: Fri, 30 May 97 09:20:34 CDT
From: Marpessa Kupendua <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: !*OZ: Aborigine Families Recount Seizures
Aborigine Families Recount Seizures
By Alan Thornhill,
in the Philadelphia Daily News
28 April 1997
Associated Press - Aborigines living in Australia's remote
northwest deserts used to smear their light-skinned
children with charcoal, hoping to keep state welfare
agents from taking them away.
"The welfare just grabbed you when they found you,"
one of the stolen children reported, many years later.
"Our people would hide us, paint us with charcoal."
The ploy rarely worked. "I was taken to Moola Bulla,"
said one cattler worker who was stolen as a child.
"We were about 5 or 6 years old."
His tale was one of thousands heard by Australia's
Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission
during its heart-wrenching inquiry into the "stolen
generation." From 1910 until the 1970s, some 100,000
aboriginal children were taken from their parents
under the misguided belief that Aborigines were
doomed and saving the children was the only humane
alternative. Light-skinned aboriginal children were
seized and handed out to white families for
adoption. Dark-skinned children were put in
Even now, the pain is so great that most stories
were printed anonymously in the commission's final
report, "Bringing Them Home." The commission says
the actions of the authorities at that time amounted
to genocide as the United Nations defines it. The
government has refused to follow the inquiry's
recommendation that a tribunal be set up to assess
compensation payments for the stolen children.