Wednesday 26 May 2021
Dear sector colleagues,
For generations, many First Nations children were forcibly removed from their families as a result of various government policies, becoming known as the Stolen Generations.
The policies of child removal left a legacy of trauma and loss that continues to affect Indigenous communities, families and individuals today. For this, we say sorry.
Observed annually on this day - 26 May - National Sorry Day remembers and acknowledges the mistreatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who were forcibly removed from their families and communities. While this date carries great significance for the Stolen Generations and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, it is also commemorated by Australians right across the country.
Today we acknowledge the strength of Stolen Generations Survivors and reflect on how we can all play a part in the healing process for our people and nation. We cannot begin to fix the problems of the present without accepting the truth of our history. Sorry Day asks us to acknowledge the Stolen Generations, and in doing so, reminds us that historical injustice is still an ongoing source of intergenerational trauma for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families, communities and peoples.
Healing is an important process of returning to physical, emotional, spiritual and cultural wellbeing for our Aboriginal community. Given the profound and damaging effects that forced removal has had on peoples’ lives, it is a journey that takes time and understanding. We all play a part in the healing for our people and nation.
Both collectively and individually, we can commemorate Sorry Day by acknowledging the actions of the past and the harm that they have caused. To better understand the experience for members of the Stolen Generations, I encourage you to watch this video reflecting a journey of personal experiences (4.20 mins) produced by the Healing Foundation.
Reconciliation Week (27 May to 3 June) commences tomorrow and will focus on the message, 'More than a word. Reconciliation takes action.’ - encouraging all Australians to continue to speak up for truth and equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. For further information, visit the Reconciliation SA website.
If you have any questions or concerns about Covid, I encourage you to contact DHS’s COVID-19 Response team at DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au