National Sorry Day, held on 26 May each year, is an important day during which we remember the past policies of forced child removal, and reflect on the sad and painful history of the Stolen Generations. On this day, we recognise moments of resilience, of the need for healing and the power of saying sorry.
“At Cedars we also take this day to heart and ensure it is a part of our school calendar each year so that our students take time to reflect on this part of our history and how we can work together towards healing in our nation,” said Mrs Taylor do Santos, Aboriginal Liaison Officer.
On 13 February 2008, thousands of Australians shared in the experience of the National Apology to the Stolen Generations and Indigenous Australia delivered by former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd together with the Australian Parliament. And yet, today, twenty-four years after the ‘Bringing Them Home’ report and 13 years since the National Apology, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are still 10 times more likely than non-Indigenous children to be removed from their homes, according to Reconciliation.org.
We cannot begin to fix the problems of the present without accepting the truth of our history. National Sorry Day asks us to acknowledge the Stolen Generations, and in doing so, reminds us that historical injustice is still an ongoing source of intergenerational trauma for Aboriginal and Torres Islander families, communities, and peoples.
In many ways National Sorry Day is a difficult day for Australia, as we reflect upon the violence and injustice of our history. Yet it is an important day, especially for us as Christians, as a way to promote reconciliation and initiate a more generous and just Australia where everyone feels valued the way God values us.
This year, Cedars students from Kindergarten through to Year 12 have been encouraged to take a moment on the 26th to read about, investigate and discuss what Sorry Day means to them. “Sorry Day” by Coral Vass and “Stories for Simon” by Lisa Miranda Sarzin and Lauren Briggs are just two of the excellent books and resources we have in our Library to support our students as we build towards a nation strengthened by respectful relationships between the wider Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.