On the 16th anniversary of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s formal apology to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, a message to the GEGAC Community from CEO Kenton Winsley.


The 2008 Apology, delivered on February 13 by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, stands as a pivotal moment in Australia’s history, symbolising a significant step towards the acknowledgment of past wrongs inflicted upon Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, notably the Stolen Generations.

Reflecting on this historic event evokes a range of emotions, from solemnity to hope, as we contemplate its significance and enduring impact.

At its core, the Apology represents a collective recognition of the profound injustices suffered by Indigenous Australians due to the systematic removal of children from their families and communities.

The acknowledgment of past mistreatment, expressed with sincerity and empathy, is a crucial first step towards healing the wounds inflicted by generations of colonial policies and practices.

The Apology also serves as a powerful testament to the resilience and strength of Indigenous cultures, which have endured centuries of oppression and marginalisation.

By honouring First Nation Peoples as the “oldest continuing cultures in human history,” the Apology reaffirms their rightful place as custodians of the land and champions of cultural diversity.

The Apology carries a message of reconciliation and unity, calling upon the nation to “turn a new page” in its history by confronting past injustices and forging a shared future based on mutual respect and understanding.

It acknowledges that true reconciliation requires more than just words; it demands concrete actions to address the ongoing legacies of colonisation, including socio-economic disparities, systemic discrimination, and the erosion of Indigenous rights.

As we reflect on the significance of the 2008 Apology, we are reminded of Australia’s ongoing journey towards understanding and social justice.

While the Apology marked a crucial milestone, it was just the beginning of a long and complex healing process.

It requires sustained efforts from all levels of society, including governments, communities, and individuals, to address the root causes of Indigenous disadvantage and to build a future where all Australians can live with dignity, equality, and respect.

The 2008 Apology stands as a testament to the power of acknowledgment, empathy, and solidarity in confronting past injustices and forging a path towards a more inclusive and equitable society.

It serves as a reminder of our shared humanity and collective responsibility to honour Indigenous peoples’ rights, cultures, and aspirations, both now and for future generations.

It’s important to acknowledge that discussing topics related to the Apology and the experiences of the Stolen Generations can be profoundly emotional and traumatic.

If you feel overwhelmed, please know that your feelings are valid, and taking a break or seeking support from someone you trust is okay.

Remember that you’re not alone; people care about you and are here to offer support during difficult times.

Take care of yourself and prioritise your spiritual well-being above all else.

If you aren’t able to yarn with friends or family, here’s some other resources:

13YARN – 24/7 helpline

  • Call 13 92 76 to talk with an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Crisis Supporter.

Lifeline

  • Call 13 11 14

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