The University of New England has paid tribute to the Stolen Generation, marking National Sorry Day with a moving event involving more than 120 staff, students and guests.
The Director of Oorala Aboriginal Centre, Gregory Davison said he had to search for his mother and family, after he and his siblings were removed from his mother’s care when he was two years old.
“Connection to family, community and country defines individuals and subsequent loss of identity has resulted in trauma that is still felt today. This trauma is a result of past governments’ removal policies and practices and echoes through many generations,” Mr Davison said.
Mr Davison said Sorry Day allows Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to remember those who were forcibly removed from their families as children and placed in foster homes, institutions or adopted out.
“The impact is enormous and affects many people in different ways. Reuniting with family and community and reconnecting with identity is a long journey of healing,” he said.
UNE Vice-Chancellor, Professor Annabelle Duncan, also reflected on the importance of Sorry Day.
“As UNE sits on the land of the Anaiwan people, Sorry Day and reconciliation are very important to the University community. I am pleased to be a part of that recognition and celebration and re-emphasise UNE’s commitment to supporting Aboriginal people in achieving their goals,” Professor Duncan said.
The Armidale High School Aboriginal Dancers performed three short traditional dances accompanied by didgeridoo and clap stick.
Anaiwan Elder Mr Steve Widders, who welcomed attendees to Country, opened the event.
Captions for Photos:
Mr Gregory Davison and Vice-Chancellor Annabelle Duncan placing their hand prints on canvas.
(l-r) Elders Ms Barbara Bond, Mr Steve Widders, and Ms Diane Roberts.
(l-r) Oorala staff members Ms Kate Carter, MsTonia Ryan, Ms Donna Moodie and Ms Erin Ferguson.