South Australia’s Aboriginal community came together on the 4th Anniversary of the National Apology to the Stolen Generations for a special breakfast hosted by Reconciliation SA, with Lowitja Institute Chair Pat Anderson delivering the keynote address.
The breakfast, held on 13 February 2012, was organised to honour members of the Stolen Generations and to continue to inform the non-Aboriginal community about their ongoing needs.
Almost 400 people attended including local members of the Stolen Generations, our Patron Dr Lowitja O’Donoghue, prominent SA academic and Institute Board member Dr Peter Buckskin, Institute Program Leader Professor Judith Dwyer and a table of Institute guests hosted by our Adelaide-based Link person Ms Kim O’Donnell. Also speaking was the SA Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, the Hon. Paul Caica MP.
‘There’s Still Work to Be Done’ was the breakfast’s theme and also the title of Ms Anderson’s speech in which she focused on the ongoing disconnect between Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the wider nation state. Ms Anderson spoke from personal experience, being both the daughter and sister of members of the Stolen Generations.
Musing on the recent Australia Day protest in Canberra by members of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, and its potential to derail the current constitutional reform process, Ms Anderson said: ‘Is the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australia so tentative and fragile that one or two incidents like this can jeopardise historically needed change?’
Ms Anderson pointed to the ongoing Northern Territory ‘Intervention’ as an example of how the nation state viewed its difficult relationship with First Australians.
‘Australia as a nation has to get over the idea that we, the Aboriginal peoples, need looking after or disciplining, or both,’ she said. ‘Building a stronger, more robust and open relationship means challenging the negative stereotypes about what it means to be an Aboriginal person.
‘This is a challenge for all of us – Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal – because the power of some of these stereotypes is that they get taken up and believed in by Aboriginal people too.’
Following her address Ms Anderson joined a discussion with Dr Buckskin, talking about her personal life, the Stolen Generations, current policy settings and her hopes for meaningful constitutional reform.
For more information about Reconciliation SA and its continuing efforts on behalf of the Stolen Generations to have the Bringing Them Home report’s recommendations fully implemented, go to: www.reconciliationsa.org.au.
ISSUE 6 / APRIL 2012 Page 31