'Yes we celebrate, but things must change'
February 11, 2022
Sunday 13 February 2022 marks the 14th Anniversary of the National Apology to the Stolen Generations.
On 13 February 2008, then-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd publically apologised on behalf of the Federal Government to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children forcibly removed from their families, communities, culture and country under a series of government policies from the early 1800s to the mid-1900s. This period in Australian history caused deep, enduring trauma and grief for First Peoples.
It remains a day that calls us to truth about our history and commits us to the ongoing struggle for justice and healing.
Alison Overeem, Leprena UAICC Tasmania Manager and Advocate of the Assembly's Walking Together as First and Second Peoples Circle has shared this poem reflecting on the Anniversary.
"We must be proactive to ensure there is no need for further apologies," said Alison. "We do this by advocating for self-determination and justice, systemically and at the grassroots. We are called to justice. The Creator has called us all to this moment to stop, listen, learn and act as a result of the layers in the apology and what it calls us to, not just the apology as a moment in time."
Find out more and reflect
Download Alison's poem as a PDF. The original artwork in the background of the poem is by Grace Williams.
Read more about the history and meaning of the National Apology to the Stolen Generations on the website of the Australian Human Rights Commission.
Watch as Interim National Chairperson of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress Rev Mark Kickett shares some of his story in this video.
Find out more about the Covenant between the Uniting Church and the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress - a relationship at the heart of our church.
Personally or with others in your congregation or community, you may like to reflect on these questions:
- In the life of our church and communities, how can we bring light to the injustices of past policies and the truth of our history?
- How can we bring attention to present policies that are unjust or do not close the gap for First Peoples?
- What are you aware of in the structures or life of our church, or your local community that may be impacting First Peoples?
- How might you or your community advocate for change in both church and world?