National Sorry Day Reflection 2015

26 May 2015

 

National Sorry Day Reflection 2015

National Sorry Day is an Australia-wide observance held on May 26 each year. This day gives people the chance to come together and share the steps towards healing for the Stolen Generations, their families and communities. Stolen generations refer to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians who were forcibly removed from their families and communities.


On 26 May every year, ceremonies, marches and presentations are held to commemorate Sorry Day, the day on which Australians express regret for the historical mistreatment of Aboriginal people.

 ALL:

“If we can now say that we’re sorry

To the people from this land

They cry, they cry, their children were stolen,

They still wonder why…”

 

Bringing Them Home…

The report, which resulted from a Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission inquiry, documented the forced removal of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, between 1910 and the 1970s.

The children who were removed have come to be known as the Stolen Generations

In 1992, Prime Minister Paul Keating made a speech in Redfern, which acknowledged for the first time that 'we took the children from their mothers'.

In 2000, on the 28th May, more than 250,000 people participated in the Bridge Walk across

Sydney Harbour Bridge.

 

 

The walk, which was organised by the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation (now known as Reconciliation Australia), was in support of Indigenous Australians and highlighted the issue of the lack of a Government apology to Indigenous people for the Stolen Generations.

In 2005, Sorry Day was renamed as a National Day of Healing for all Australians by the National Sorry Day Committee.

On the 13th of February 2008, more than ten years after the 'Bringing Them Home Report' was tabled, then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made a historic, formal apology to Australia's Indigenous peoples; particularly the Stolen Generations and their families and communities, for laws and policies which had 'inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians.'

“To the stolen generations I say the following. As Prime Minister of Australia I am sorry. On behalf of the government of Australia I am sorry. On behalf of the parliament of Australia I am sorry. And I offer you this apology without qualification.

We apologise for the hurt, the pain and suffering we the parliament have caused you by the laws that previous parliaments have enacted. We apologise for the indignity, the degradation, and the humiliation these laws embodied. We offer this apology to the mothers, the fathers, the brothers, the sisters, the families and the communities whose lives were ripped apart by the actions of successive governments under successive parliaments…”

Kevin Rudd

 

All:

 Almighty and loving God,

You who created ALL people in your image,

Lead us to seek your compassion as we listen to the stories of our past.

 You gave your only Son, Jesus, who died and rose again so that sins will be forgiven.

We place before you the pain and anguish of dispossession of land, language, lore, culture and family kinship that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have experienced.

We live in faith that all people will rise from the depths of despair and hopelessness.

 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families have endured the pain and loss of loved ones, through the separation of children from their families. We are sorry and ask God’s forgiveness.

 Touch the hearts of the broken, homeless and inflicted and heal their spirits.

In your mercy and compassion walk with us as we continue our journey of healing to create a future that is just and equitable. Lord, you are our hope.

 Amen.