Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Intro to Aboriginal: Stolen Generation

       For my Intro to Aboriginal class I had to do a presentation on a topic and a short paper.  I chose to do mine on the Stolen Generation.  I did a prezi for the presentation.  It has clips from a movie I watched called the Rabbit Proof Fence.  The Rabbit Proof fence was about 3 aboriginal children running away to return to their family.

The Stolen Generation was between 1909 and 1969. During the stolen generation between 50,000 to a 100,000 Aboriginal children were taken away from their parents and forced to grow up in homes ran by whites, Christian missions, or homes of a white families (Planet Wissen ). They were never allowed to see their family again and were told that their family did not want them anymore. The Europeans felt that they had justifications for these horrible, scarring actions and took a long time to apologize.  
The Europeans had an ultimate plan to rid Australia from the Aboriginal race.  In three generations if a black aboriginal man had children with a white woman the children would then be white. (Rabbit Proof Fence).   In the camps or homes that the children were kept they were made to line up to do color checks to see if the children were full blooded Aboriginal or mixed.  Confidential Evidence #332 provides some insight into the feelings this caused these young kids“I remember all we children being herded up, like a mob of cattle, and feeling the humiliation of being graded by the colour of our skins for the government records” (Carmel Bird).   If the child was considered only part Aboriginal, then he or she would be sent to school and be forcibly brought up even more in to white society and forced to marry someone of the white race.  The Europeans felt that they were making society stronger and providing the children with a better life of civilization and beliefs (Rabbit Proof Fence).
In camps and homes Aboriginal children were expected to do chores, go to church, go to school, and to not socialize to much with one another.  If they did not successfully do all their hard daily tasks they were punished.  A young aboriginal girl named Millicent who was taken to Sister Kate’s Home in Western Australia was sent off while in high school to work at a farm. At the farm she was raped and one time even cut with a razor blade by the farmer.  When she would tell the matron of Sister Kate’s her mouth would be washed out with soap, she would be forced to kneel at the church altar for hours, would be forced to polish all the floors and brass in the church, and would be stripped naked and whipped with a wet ironing cord (Suite 101). In the movie, the Rabbit Proof Fence, a girl is whipped, locked up, and her hair is chopped off for sneaking off to see her Aboriginal boyfriend after being tracked down by an Aboriginal tracker who worked for the home (Rabbit Proof Fence). The fact that Aboriginal adults sometimes worked with the group made it harder and more confusing for the Stolen Generation children. Aboriginal children generally felt helpless, confused, and abused in the homes that they were placed.
Many children of the stolen generation after becoming of age were either married off or forced to go to work. Generally their lives were still filled with bad situations.  In the Rabbit Proof Fence Molly finds a woman in a bad situation. After growing up in a home, the woman was sent to work as a domestic worker at a farm.  Molly and her sisters see him come in each night and find out that she is likely raped by the farmer every night (Rabbit Proof Fence). Rape and mistreatments were common  after the Stolen Generation children were married off or sent off to the workplace.
Many of the Stolen Generation still go through trauma and confusions today.  Even though Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologized in 2008, the Australian government spends money to help Aboriginals, their story was published in 1997 in Bringing Them Home, and National Sorry Day or Journey of Healing Day has been celebrated annually since May 26, 1998; the hardships are not over (Reconcili Action Network).  Twice as many children of the Stolen Generation are involved in drugs as with those Aboriginals who were not taken from their homes as a child.  One aboriginal man in Confidential Evidence 528 admitted to not being able to love and get attached to others.  He is, also, scared to have children because he is scared that they will be taken away by the welfare system.  This man was removed at 8 years old in the 1970s and suffered sexual abuse in orphanages and foster homes.  In Confidential Evidence 265 a woman talks about her sister killing herself at age 34 (Carmel Bird).  Her sister had been institutionalized since she was ninth month old and put through a lot of cruelty.  Her sister was made to dress up like a boy and her hair was cut short on many occasions (Carmel Bird).  The trauma does not end.  There are many more Confidential Evidence stories and testaments online.
It will still take a lot more time and actions to help the Aboriginals heal.  The first step to make this horrible time somewhat better was to say “Sorry” and try to lend a hand without forcing it upon them.  The next step is to forgive.  This is in progress, but still needs work.  Everyone needs to work on this.  Non-aboriginals need to forgive themselves and their ancestors and the Aboriginals the people and their descendants who led the Stolen Generation.  And the final and most important step is to try and come together to put a stop to things like this happening again. In some third world countries children are sold at a young age to work picking cocoa and coffee beans for chocolates and coffees.  To help stop this people can buy fair trade chocolates and write to different manufacturers to look into where his or her goods are coming from.  In China the Falun Dafa a religious group that focuses on meditation is severely prosecuted when imprisoned for worshipping.  They are tortured in many horrifying ways and their organs are harvested from their bodies while they are alive.  These are just a couple of examples of horrible things that are similar to the Stolen Generation now.  When are people going to come together to try and put a stop to other humans massacring other groups of humans for being different?

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