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Joining the Bringing Them Home WA Board

Did you know that 55.6% of the Aboriginal population in Western Australia are either Stolen Generations Survivors or their descendants? That’s by far the highest in Australia.
New research has confirmed that there is a “Double Gap” in relation to most of the health and social wellbeing indicators, when comparing Stolen Generations Survivors and their families with the rest of our Aboriginal community?

Bringing Them Home WA has been working to advocate on behalf of Stolen Generations Survivors and their families and to educate the broader community about these issues since the Bringing Them Home Report was tabled in 1997.
We are an active, reconciliation-based organisation with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Members and Board members, with strong partnerships with the Aboriginal community and into the Reconciliation Movement.

If you would like to become involved (or want to renew your annual membership) download a Membership Form and submit it through the email geoffrey.bice@wa.uca.org.au or drop it into the Yokai office at 57 Murray St, Perth.

We are always looking for new Members to join our Board so if you are interested in getting involved, please let us know and we will invite you to join us to meet the rest of the Board and many other members.

Sorry Day 2021

Tuesday 26th May 2021 is the 24th Anniversary of the tabling of the Bringing Them Home Report in the Commonwealth Parliament. This landmark Report by the Australian Human Rights Commission was the culmination of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families.

Bringing Them Home WA (BTH) and the WA Stolen Generations Aboriginal Corporation (WASGAC) would normally be jointly hosting a major commemorative event at Wellington Square, but due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, particularly for the schoolchildren who normally attend our event, we have again developed an online “event” in partnership with Curtin University. This “online event”, which features interviews with Stolen Generations Survivors and related documentaries from Curtin’s Noongar Dandjoo television program will be accessible from the morning of Sorry Day by clicking on the following link: https://youtu.be/c-QhJFjXYgA

However, WASGAC Managing Director, Jim Morrison, expressed concern on this anniversary that Governments have still not acknowledged the widespread impact of Stolen Generations policies on the Aboriginal community in Western Australian.
“Soon to be released research has highlighted the astonishing statistic that approximately 50% of the Aboriginal population in Western Australia are either Stolen Generations Survivors or their descendants.”
“Sadly, there is ongoing trauma associated with their removal from families and the intergenerational trauma that impacts on their children and grandchildren. These Stolen Generations Survivors are still looking for psychological support and long-term strategies for healing and Governments are not responding to this significant need”.

BTH Co-Chair, Tony Hansen, a Stolen Generations Survivor from Marribank Mission, added: “The other priority issue for Stolen Generations Survivors is the ongoing fight for justice! Survivors who suffered sexual abuse have options open to them to pursue compensation through the Redress Scheme established as a result of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse or through the Civil Courts, but this comes with the added burdens associated with re-traumatisation”.
“It is time for Commonwealth and State Governments to consider the Bringing Them Home Report Recommendations 3 and 4 which proposed compensation or reparation for all Survivors to acknowledge the trauma associated with removal from their families and loss of culture. The NSW, Tasmanian, South Australian and Victorian Governments have all established compensation schemes and Survivors in WA, where the impact of removal policies was most profound, are still waiting!”
“As we commemorate the 24th Anniversary of the Bringing Them Home Report, it is time for the WA Government to stand up and acknowledge the unfinished business associated with the Bringing Them Home Report, Mr Hansen concluded.

Further comment: Jim Morrison 0408 917 133 or Tony Hansen 0417 610 412

Sorry Day 2020

May 26, 2020 marks the 23rd anniversary of the handing down of the Bringing Them Home Report.

Make sure you watch our 3-part Sorry Day 2020 series featuring interviews and stories from Stolen Generations survivors from at least eight different mission sites in Western Australia.

Sorry Day 2020 image

We were looking forward to returning to Wellington Square this year, but due to COVID-19 restrictions we have made Sorry Day 2020 into an ONLINE event. We hope to reach an even wider audience online this year through sharing these recordings. These videos are also available for students to access and we encourage schools and education centres to engage with the content.

Please also see our media release for more information about the ongoing need for truth, justice and healing for Stolen Generations survivors and their families.

Sorry Day 2018

Please join us at 9.45am at the Wirin statue in the new Yagan Square in the heart of the city for a yarn and some performances to commemorate Sorry Day 2018.

Sorry Day is an important and special time. Stolen Generations survivors and their families are still looking for healing. To get healing we need truth and justice according to the recommendations of the Bringing Them Home Report. For that we need everyone’s support!

This year we will also be acknowledging the 100th anniversary of the Moore River Native Settlement/Mogumber Mission.

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STOLEN GENERATIONS ABUSE SHOULD NOT BE FORGOTTEN IN ROYAL COMMISSION WRAP UP

The Bringing Them Home Committee (WA), the major advocacy organization for the Stolen Generations in WA, has called for Commonwealth and State Governments to ensure that the plight of the Stolen Generations is not forgotten as the Report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is analysed and policy responses developed.

“The significant level of sexual abuse suffered by Stolen Generations children over many generations was confirmed when the Bringing Them Home Report was tabled over 20 years ago yet little has been done to implement the many recommendations in that landmark Report!” (Refer extract below), according to Tony Hansen, the Co-Chair of the Bringing Them Home Committee (WA).

“The recent Royal Commission Report indicated that approximately 15% of people who gave evidence to that Inquiry were of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage and it is likely that the majority of those people were forcibly removed from their families as part of Government policies that became known as the Stolen Generations. This is five times the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the broader population!”

“The Bringing Them Home Report contained 54 recommendations that can be broadly summarised under the headings of Truth, Justice and Healing, which is ironically the name given to the Catholic Church body established to oversee the Church’s response to the work of the Royal Commission.”

“The Bringing Them Home Report recommendations have largely been ignored by Governments. There is little acknowledgement of the Truth about the forcible removal of Aboriginal children form their families; there has been little in the way of Justice apart from some outrageously low compensations payments under the Redress scheme in WA; and the Healing is only just beginning through the Bringing Them Home Committee’s innovative Yokai: Healing Our Spirit initiative.”

“We will be looking to Commonwealth and State Governments and the various Churches who failed our children to commit to the proposed Redress Scheme and to the implementation of the recommendations in the Royal Commission Report but also to review the recommendations in the Bringing Them Home Report which acknowledge the specific plight of Aboriginal children”

“If we want our families to heal and end the cycle of intergenerational trauma, the solutions are to be found in the recommendations of the Royal Commission Report and the Bringing Them Home Report – it is time for action!” Tony Hansen concluded.

For further comment: Tony Hansen on 0417 610 412

 

EXTRACT: Bringing Them Home Report (pp 193-195)

Chapter 11 The Effects

The effects of abuse and denigration

In institutions and in foster care and adoptive families, the forcibly removed children’s Aboriginality was typically either hidden and denied or denigrated. Their labour was often exploited. They were exposed to substandard living conditions and a poor and truncated education. They were vulnerable to brutality and abuse. Many experienced repeated sexual abuse.

Continue reading “STOLEN GENERATIONS ABUSE SHOULD NOT BE FORGOTTEN IN ROYAL COMMISSION WRAP UP”

Our Annual Meeting: Monday 30 October

Bringing Them Home WA will hold our 2017 Annual Meeting, 6.00pm on Monday 30 October 2017.

The meeting will be held at the Curtin Law School, 57 Murray St, Perth.

Meeting documents have already been sent to members at the address on their membership form.

At the meeting we will be presenting the proposed new constitution we have been required to adopt following changes to the Associations Incorporation Act.

We will also be officially launching the new Yokai online web resource.

Come along to find out more!

New Norcia Survivors Want the Truth to be Told

Our partner organisation, the Western Australian Stolen Generations Aboriginal Corporation, has released the following Media Release (21 October 2017):

Stolen Generations Survivors who were forcibly removed to the New Norcia Mission north of Perth, gathered at New Norcia last weekend as part of their own healing journey and to grieve the loss of past members of the Stolen Generations. A key part of the Reunion was to share historic and Family Connection information lost as part of the removal process. They are sharing their experiences and asking questions about the Truth of what happened there; and they are looking for ongoing support to continue to Heal from the traumas of the past.

“The New Norcia Aboriginal Corporation coordinates regular reunions to create a space for survivors to discuss and share Family Connection information and to allow people to start or continue their own healing journey through whatever means suits them. Many conversation during this time focus on the Truth as we know it resulting from our forcible removal from our families and the various forms of abuse that many of us suffered while we were kept at the Mission”, according to spokesperson Margaret Drayton.

“The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse released data in February this year that confirmed what we already knew. The report found 7 per cent of priests from all Catholic Church authorities who ministered from 1950 to 2010 across Australia were accused of child sexual abuse, but for the Benedictine Community of New Norcia, the amount was more than triple that at 21.5 per cent.”

“Although the Benedictine Community of New Norcia have apologised to those affected, Sadly the Benedictine community and the Catholic Church don’t appear to be prepared to explore more strategic opportunities to improve the future for survivors.. A visit to the Museum at New Norcia attempts to portray a picture of happy healthy children being well fed and looked after, but this was far from the reality of our lives!”

The WA Stolen Generations Aboriginal Corporation, who advocate for all Stolen Generations Survivors and their families has supported this weekend’s Reunion. Executive Director, Jim Morrison, stated:

“We are looking to the Commonwealth and State Governments to support these Survivors to expose the awful Truth of what happened to these children and to acknowledge the need for some form of Justice through compensation and comprehensive support to enable the Survivors and their families to Heal and move on.”

“We are also looking for the Catholic Church to confront the Truth about what happened at this Mission, which was being run by one of their Orders, the Benedictine Monks and Missionary Sisters until 1974. A private Confession in a Church is not acceptable for these Survivors, they need to hear a public apology from the Catholic Church for the abuse and ill treatment that occurred in their Mission”, Mr Morrison concluded.

Further comment: Margaret Drayton – Mobile: 0456 522 044
Jim Morrison – Mobile: 0408 917 133

Introducing our new Executive Director

Bringing Them Home WA is excited to announce the appointment of our inaugural Executive Director, Jim Morrison.

Jim is well known to members and supporters of Bringing Them Home WA as our Aboriginal Co-Chair for the past decade. He has now resigned that role to take up his new appointment, made possible thanks to the receipt of a community grant from Lottery West.

Jim Morrison is a senior Nyungar man, a Traditional Custodian from WA’s southern coast. His mother, father, and their 21 siblings were all stolen and separated as children.

Jim has been an uncompromising activist, advocate and leader in pivotal Aboriginal advancement roles for over four decades, working passionately to address the tragic mental health and suicide issues that are a legacy of Stolen Generations policy; equity in access to culturally safe services in State and Commonwealth Governments; overdue prison reforms; Aboriginal employment; education and training; equity in universities; the protection of young street people and the formation and management of non-government agencies providing services to Aboriginal families and their broader communities.

 

 

Thanks for making the Sorry Day 20th Anniversary so special!

We had a really special day at this year’s Sorry Day event in Wellington Square. Being the 20th anniversary of the handing down of the Bringing Them Home Report it was a particularly important time. It couldn’t have happened without the support from many sponsors and volunteers and our friends at ReconciliationWA have produced this little video to say a big thank you!

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