Friday, February 22, 2008

Australia Apologizes to Aborigines



Date: Feb 22, 2008 10:44 AM
: Australia Apologizes to Aborigines

Hello from Tanka Bar!

Here is an interesting news story that caught my eye last week and I have been thinking about this. Australia's government has apologized for the mistreatment of its native people at the highest level of office possible. I find this very interesting because many of Australia's policies and tactics dealing with its "Native Problem" have been directly copied and pasted from the history of the United States. They have gone through attempted extermination to assimilation using the same style of boarding schools that once plagued our own country and that we still see the effects of even today.

You could easily say that words are not worth the paper they are printed on, but many great ideas and dreams begin with words. With the Prime Minister truly confronting this tragic history head on, perhaps they can now begin to heal. In a weird switch of roles, maybe our government can learn from the positive steps of Australia.

(CNN) -- The Australian government apologized Wednesday for years of "mistreatment" that inflicted "profound grief, suffering and loss" on the country's Aboriginal people. New Prime Minister Kevin Rudd read the apology Wednesday to Aborigines and the "Stolen Generations" of children who were taken from their families.

"To the mothers and fathers, to the brothers and sisters we say sorry. And for the indignity and degradation on a proud people and a proud culture we say sorry."

For 60 years, until 1970, the Australian government took mixed-race Aboriginal children from their families and put them in dormitories or industrial schools, claiming it was protecting them.

As a result of the policy, "stolen" children lost contact with their families and heritage, received poor education, lived in harsh conditions, and often endured abuse.

"There is nothing I can say today that will take away the pain... Words are not that powerful," Rudd said in the Australian Parliament.

He said that the apology was the start of a new approach towards Aborigines which included helping them find their lost families, closing pay gaps and a 17-year difference in life expectancy between Aborigines and white Australians"

Some food for thought. There is a presidential candidate who has said similar words regarding Native people in this country.

For an honest and bold approach to this subject, you can always look toward the comedians to pull no punches and go for the jugular. I love those guys over at The Onion.

As always, we would love to hear what you all think about this. Wopila.

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