National Sorry Day
Today is National Sorry Day, where we reflect on this nation’s shameful practices and mistreatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and marks the day 24 years ago when the Bringing Them Home report was published.
The purpose of this report was not only to shine a light on the atrocities committed against the Stolen Generations – so that the non-Indigenous public could no longer claim ignorance - but also to provide recommendations to government to enact to begin a process of reconciliation. Accompanying the report was a summary of its findings, that “Indigenous families and communities have endured gross violations of their human rights. These violations continue to affect indigenous people's daily lives. They were an act of genocide, aimed at wiping out indigenous families, communities, and cultures, vital to the precious and inalienable heritage of Australia".
Today, as in 1997, these genocidal acts are ongoing, as they have been since the colonisation of this land began.
Sorry means you won’t do it again. If we mean it when we say the word sorry, our actions need to change. Our structures and institutions need to reflect our commitment to reconciliation.
The Uluru Statement from the Heart reads “With substantive constitutional change and structural reform, we believe this ancient sovereignty [of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people] can shine through as a fuller expression of Australia’s nationhood.
The Independent Education Union of Australia NSW/ACT Branch is committed to the goals of the Uluru Statement; Voice, Treaty, Truth. That is constitutional reforms to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and affirm their rightful place in our country. For the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution. For the establishment of a Makarrata (the coming together after a struggle) Commission to supervise a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations and truth-telling about this land’s history.
These are significant changes and are ones for governments to make. But as individuals we can also make changes in our own thinking and behaviour and become a better ally. The union movement is built upon solidarity and ally-ship, in the pursuit of a broader justice. When we fight together, we win. There is no more important fight than the fight for First Nations justice.
The banner image on the front page contains the work of Anmatyerr woman April Campbell.