Last Wednesday 11th May, student activists from Students Support Aboriginal Communities (SSAC) collaborated with local political cinema organisation Cinema Politica Sydney to put on a documentary screening and panel discussion to raise funds for Grandmothers Against Removals (GMAR). The event succeeded in raising over $400 to support the ongoing fight against the removal of Aboriginal children.
‘Stolen Generations’, directed by Aboriginal filmmaker Darlene Johnson, is a documentary which explores the ugly history of state-sponsored removal of Aboriginal children by the Aboriginal Protection Board. The film shows how these policies were an expression of a fundamentally racist ideology which saw Aboriginal communities as culturally inferior and unable to provide for their children, and which aimed to destroy Aboriginal culture by assimilating Aboriginal people into mainstream white society. It highlights the devastating effect these practices continue to have on the wellbeing of Aboriginal people, but also the resilience communities have displayed in reconnecting children with their families.
Despite Kevin Rudd’s apology to the Stolen Generations in 2008, Aboriginal children continue to be removed from their families at an alarming rate. In fact, there are currently more Aboriginal children in out-of-home care than at any time in history – over 15,000. Half of these children have not been placed with their extended Aboriginal families, but in non-Aboriginal foster homes and institutions. GMAR representatives say that this policy is having the same effect as the historical Stolen Generations – separating Aboriginal people from their families, communities and culture.
We were very honoured to be joined by Aunty Suellyn Tighe, a Gomeroi woman from Coonabarabran and one of the activists who established GMAR two years ago, and Uncle Ken Canning who has been involved with GMAR actions in Sydney. The panel discussion focussed on how policymakers continue to ignore Aboriginal people’s suggestions for how to overcome this issue, and the necessity of Aboriginal control of Aboriginal affairs.
You can hear a recording of the 75-minute discussion here: https://soundcloud.com/user-136859765/suellyn-tighe-and-ken-canning-stolen-generations-forum-sydney-11-05-16
To keep updated with GMAR’s activities, or donate, visit their website: