Nineteen years after the landmark Bringing them Home report was tabled in Federal Parliament urgent action is required to address the intergenerational impact of the Stolen Generations policies according to the Healing Foundation.
Over almost two years the then Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission heard evidence from many hundreds of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who were forcibly removed from their families, communities and cultures.
The report made 54 comprehensive recommendations to address the impact of forcible removal on Stolen Generations members, their descendants and the communities left behind. Nineteen years on the majority of these recommendations have not yet been implemented.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities experience the intergenerational effects of these policies every day,” Healing Foundation CEO Richard Weston said.
“Chronic health conditions, alcohol and drug use, violence and a range of mental health conditions can all be linked back to trauma caused by the Stolen Generations policies which has been passed down from one generation to the next.
“We know through our work that educating communities about trauma – including the various ways it impacts on people’s behaviour and spirit – is the first step towards healing.
“Evidence from Healing Foundation projects shows that addressing trauma through cultural healing, in partnership with local communities, improves social and emotional wellbeing,” Mr Weston said.
“Indigenous healing services such as these were recommended by the Bringing them Home inquiry as was National Sorry Day which we commemorate today,” Mr Weston said.
“We urge governments around the country to revisit the inquiry’s outstanding recommendations and the wisdom of the report to improve our people’s lives.”