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bringing them home: saying sorry to the aboriginal people

Today (May 26th) is National Sorry Day, and it will be followed by National Reconciliation Week from May 27-June 3.

National Sorry Day was first observed in 1998, one year after a report was tabled concerning the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families. The report, entitled as Bringing Them Home, acknowledged that these children were forcibly removed from their families and communities beginning in the early days of British occupation of the land, and that the government and missionaries were most directly responsible.

Reconciliation Week begins on May 27 with the anniversary of a Referendum in 1967 which removed clauses from the Australian Constitution that were discriminatory to Aboriginal Australians.

The week ends on June 3, the anniversary of the infamous Mabo case of 1992 in which the High Court of Australia recognised Native Title rights and overturned ‘terra nullius’ (the myth that prior to European settlement the land was empty of people and was unowned.)

Clearly this is a significant time for the Aboriginal people and for all Australians. Read the rest of this entry

happy invasion day

Many people nowadays replace the term “Australia Day” with “Invasion Day” for our January 26 holiday. This is of course grossly politically incorrect, but alas that is the point!

What do you think? Do you think this is a fair description of the day?

I suppose we all need to reflect today on what Australia Day “celebrates” from all perspectives. For White Australia it does mark the colonisation of yet another land and thus the beginning of a society for us. However for Indigenous Australians it is the day marking the stealing of their land and the resulting slide into statistical poverty.

Such poverty of course did not exist before the colonisation of Australia – Aboriginal people lived in harmony with the bio-web of the land and did not take more than they needed (see my last post on economics).

Australia Day might be a great opportunity for most Australians to wear boardshorts, have a BBQ, listen to the Hottest 100 and drink plenty of beer. However it should also be an opportunity to reflect on the history of our young nation and contemplate the injustices that have occurred on this land.

Aboriginal Australians really were the original owners of this land, and in actual fact our ancestors stole it from them. For Christians this should be a rude awakening to the current needs of the Aboriginal population, as stealing is obviously outrightly condemned in our Scriptures:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)

What should we do now? Accept the way things have worked out? Or should we work actively for reconciliation and restitution to the greatest degree possible? The kingdom of God certainly cannot be built on the kind unredeemed history such as that of Australia, wouldn’t you agree?


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