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 Prayer for Sunday 26 May

With Sorry Day being on a Sunday this year the Bringing Them Home WA Committee Bringing Them Home (white background)have produced a prayer and reflection resource which can be used in churches and faith communities on 26 May.  This will give an opportunity for faith communities to raise awareness about Sorry Day and continue the journey of reconciliation.

You can download the prayer here:  Sorry Day Prayer 2013

Have you heard the ‘Sorry Song’?

The forced removal of so many Aboriginal children from their mothers, families and communities inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss that continues to affect them, their communities and descendants.

In 1998, Kerry Fletcher wrote the Sorry Song , on behalf of all of us whose hearts ache when we think of the pain those children and communities suffered and the pain which they still endure today.

The Sorry Song is regularly performed at the annual WA Sorry Day event, as well as having been performed at events marking the National Apology to the Stolen Generations in 2008.

Listen to (a short version of) the Sorry Song below ::

Visit www.sorrysong.com.au to view the lyrics, download the sheet music or watch/listen to other performances of this moving song.

Sorry Day 2011 – Volunteers Needed!

The Bringing Them Home Committee (WA) was established over ten years ago following the release of a report in 1997 into the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families. This was known as the Bringing Them Home Report. One of the recommendations in that report was the establishment of a national `Sorry Day’ to be celebrated each year to commemorate the history of forcible removals and its effects. This is now commemorated each year on 26th May, the anniversary of the day in 1997 when the report was tabled in the Federal Parliament.

In Perth, the major event for Sorry Day is organised by the Bringing Them Home Committee and takes place at Wellington Square in East Perth on the 26th May each year.

The day commences at 10am with a range of activities for approximately one thousand schoolchildren. The formal proceedings commence at 12 noon and run through until 2pm. This includes a Welcome to Country by Noongar Elders, singing and dancing by Aboriginal performers, a Smoking Ceremony and a Guest Speaker who brings a personal perspective to the meanng of Sorry Day. We also provide a sausage sizzle for attendees at the event.

Not surprisingly, the logistics of organising this event are substantial and rely on the voluntary efforts of our Committee and supporters. We would be delighted if you could join us on this important day of reconciliation and ease the workload for the Committee. We need people to help with everything from setting up chairs and marquees; setting up the barbecues and cooking the sausages; helping with school activities; coordinating the carparking on the reserve and then the inevitable clean up. You will be pleased to know that we will be holding a modest after party at a venue near to Wellington Square later in the afternoon on 26th May, as a small thank you to our volunteers and helpers!

If you have some spare time on Thursday, 26th May please email our Event Coordinator, Yvonne Sargeant: bthcwa@gmail.com or ring her on 0424 193 465.

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