Counting anniversaries will not make healing happen
A statement from direct descendants of the ones taken.
As the Youth Reference Group of the nation’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation, we share this message with all Australians:
This Bringing Them Home anniversary counts the years in which nothing has changed.
We see a time ahead where there isn’t a need for trauma recovery, but we are far from that place right now.
What was lost was a way of life, a way of practising culture—a culture that is grounded in respect, relationships, reciprocity, strength, and wisdom.
We’ve seen how our ways present solutions to climate change impacts, to revitalise healthy waterways and restore cultural burning for the prevention of fire tragedy. We’ve also seen our kinship systems provide safety, love, and nurturing homes again, in the face of systems designed to devastate our families.
Our cultures and knowledges are a strength for all Australians.
We are tired of counting.
Counting the deaths of young people in custody. Counting the number of our people who are being punished with incarceration. It is not the answer for trauma recovery and healing.
The continued cycle of removing children within the current out-of-home care systems which is so highly represented with our children and young people. The cycle is continuing.
Counting our family who continue to pass too soon (which brings up the health disparities across this nation), and our Stolen Generation survivors not being able to see the change that is so desperately needed and overdue.
We are tired of counting the anniversaries that have gone, by while harm and trauma experiences continue for Stolen Generations and our families.
We acknowledge the statement from our new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in his acceptance speech last weekend—promising a more inclusive and equitable nation—where no one is left behind and no one is held back, and his promise to implement the Uluru Statement from the Heart in full.
If the Prime Minister delivers on these promises he can bring an end to trauma, and make intergenerational healing a reality, right now.
We invite Prime Minister Albanese to play a key leadership role in the solution, in partnership with us. To commit to actions, not just words.
We invite him to meet with our Youth Reference Group to talk.