On February 13, 2008, Australia’s then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd stood in front of parliament and apologised on behalf of the Australian government for the forced removals of Australian Indigenous children from their families.
“To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry,” he said.
“And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry.”
Under government policies from 1910 to 1969, Indigenous children were removed from their families in an effort to be assimilated into ‘white Australia’. It’s estimated at least 100,000 children were removed, with siblings separated and irreparable damage done to Indigenous culture.
According to official records, this practice officially ended in 1969. But in the same year Kevin Rudd delivered his apology, 11-year-old Vanessa Turnbull Roberts was forcibly taken from her family and placed in out-of-home care.
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Now, she’s 22. And she doesn’t understand how the Australian government can apologise for wrongs that are still being committed.
Speaking to Marlee Silva on Mamamia’s Tiddas 4 Tiddas podcast, the Bundjalung woman, law student and activist says she is part of the ongoing Stolen Generation, which continues to affect Indigenous people.