National Sorry Day: An important part of healing
On the 26th of May 1997 the landmark Bringing them Home report was tabled in federal parliament. Bringing them Home is the final report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families and was conducted by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (now called the Australian Human Rights Commission) between 1995 and 1997.
On 26 May 1998, the first National Sorry Day was held to commemorate the anniversary of the report and remember the grief, suffering and injustice experienced by the stolen generations. Reference: https://humanrights.gov.au/about/get-involved/events/national-sorry-day Creative Spirits have some great information about the Sorry Day apology,we have added the link here with the Apology available to watch https://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/politics/stolen-generations/sorry-apology-to-stolen-generations#Video:_Kevin_Rudd's_apology
National Sorry Day is held on 26 May each year to acknowledge and recognise members of the Stolen Generations. Charles Passi, a Dauareb tribesman from the Mer Island group in the Torres Straits, and Chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation shares his thoughts on the importance of National Sorry Day.
National Sorry Day is important to us as an organisation, but also to us as Australia’s First Peoples because we use it to remember and recognise our Stolen Generations. Most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people I know have been affected either directly or indirectly by this terrible part of our history since European colonisation. With no disrespect intended, I am a strong advocate for turning our hurt from the past into something positive for our community and for our future generations, as a sign of taking our destiny into our own hands. That’s why I was very happy to hear the recommendation from the Bringing Them Home report (tabled in Federal Parliament on 26 May 1997) that a National Sorry Day be celebrated each year. And that’s what we’ve been doing since 1998. I see this as a positive contribution to our healing journey, just as the national Apology was five years ago.
At the Healing Foundation, we are dedicated to supporting the healing of Stolen Generations and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities around Australia. We see healing as a process of returning to our physical, emotional, spiritual and cultural wellbeing. It’s a journey that can happen over a long time and that’s understandable given the profound and damaging effects that forced removal has had on peoples’ lives. As our brothers and sisters over at Reconciliation Australia know, recognition is a big part of healing.
So that’s why National Sorry Day isn’t just another one of ‘those days’ for me. To celebrate it this year I’m going to take part in the Sorry Day Bridge Walk in Canberra, led by the deadly mob at Winnunga Health Service, on 24 May. I hope all Australians, whether they’ve been here for generations or just a short time, will take a quiet or (loud) moment to recognise our Stolen Generations on 26 May.
Au Esoau! (a big thankyou) Over the years we have had a book that we add families perspectives on National Sorry day. We would love to hear what Sorry Day means to you. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, we can share this with our team and our community. RCCC Team