DEWNR representatives attended this week’s National Apology breakfast in order to recognise the 10th anniversary of this significant step in Reconciliation.
On 13 February 2008, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made a formal apology to Australia’s Indigenous peoples, particularly to the Stolen Generations whose lives had been blighted by past government policies of forced child removal and Indigenous assimilation.
Each year Reconciliation South Australia holds a breakfast to mark the occasion. The keynote speaker at this year’s breakfast was June Oscar AO, Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, who called for compensation for members of the Stolen Generations to help resolve the intergenerational trauma of this national tragedy.
All were moved by Ali Cobby Eckermann, a Yankunytjatjara poet, member of the Stolen Generations and the first Indigenous poet in the world to receive a Windham Campbell Prize (Poetry) from Yale University, who shared some of the powerful poetry she has written to bring about understanding for Aboriginal Australia’s Stolen Generations.
The sold-out breakfast was attended by 36 DEWNR staff, board and committee members. The Indigenous Nations represented on DEWNR’s tables included Adnyamathanha, Wirangu, Mirning, Far West Coast, Kokatha, Narungga, Ngadjuri, Larrakia, Torres Strait Islands and other Aboriginal nations from throughout Australia.
You can read the transcript of the Apology or learn more about this defining moment in Australian history. For further information, contact the DEWNR Aboriginal Engagement and Reconciliation Unit.
*Top row: Regional Programs Administration Officer Tia Schrapel; Major Projects Administrative Support Officer Keisha Weetra; Parks and Regions Group Executive Director John Schutz; Conservation, NRM and Protected Area Policy Principal Policy Adviser Jody Gates; Natural Resources AMLR Kaurna Liaison Officer Colin Darcy
Bottom row: Far West Coast Aboriginal Corporation and Yumbarra Conservation Park Co-management Board member Sue Haseldine; Conservation, NRM and Protected Area Policy Director Matt Ward; Conservation, NRM and Protected Area Policy Executive Assistant Leonie Whittlesea; Chief Executive Sandy Pitcher