Despite the 1997 Bringing them Home report, the 2008 National Apology to the Stolen Generations, and many other inquiries, there has still been no systematic government response to the needs and rights of Stolen Generations survivors and their descendants.
Stolen Generations survivors have endured a lifetime of trauma, grief and loss, and as a result they carry a significant burden of health, wellbeing, social, and economic disadvantage. They are growing older, and many live with disabilities and complex health problems, including poor mental health. They have increasingly complex and overlapping needs yet face personal and systemic barriers to accessing services. They are worried about the future of their families.
The trauma caused by the forced removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children has been passed on to subsequent generations. It is reflected in the higher levels of disadvantage borne by Stolen Generations descendants and in the dangerous levels of child removals and incarceration suffered by many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities today.
Healing is fundamental to First Nations peoples reaching their full personal, cultural, social, educational, and economic potential. Healing is about restoring the wellbeing, strength of spirit, family connections, and lore that has made Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures the oldest living cultures on earth.
Make Healing Happen provides an in-depth insight into the experiences of Stolen Generations survivors and the extent and complexity of their contemporary needs as they grow older. It presents demographic data about where Stolen Generations survivors and their families live, and it considers the impact of forced removal on Stolen Generations descendants.
There is an urgent need to heal past wrongs – for the wellbeing of those who were stolen, their descendants who have inherited their trauma, their communities who continue to hurt, and for Australia as a nation.