THE STOLEN OR LUCKY GENERATION

Much is said and written about the indignities confronted by children were members of the “Stolen Generation”. Sadly, much of that recorded history including things coming to light in more recent years offers an accurate account of what happened. Children were abused in various ways and some of that abuse was quite gross. It’s a good thing that those who perpetrated wrong on children have been identified and where possible punished.

Not for one minute that I condone abuse of any kind and that this is my reality was inflicted upon children is disgusting.

There are however two points that need to be considered.

The first is that those who were monstrous in terms of their conduct toward the young people removed from their families, have an unfortunate way of colouring judgements on everybody who was connected with indigenous children during this period.

There were “bad apples” who did very rotten things! However, the majority of support people well intentioned and had the welfare of children at heart. Many of them may have known about what was going on, but could do a little to correct abuse because of that time any allegations that they made would have been laughed away by authorities.

The second point to remember is that removed children were educated and also taught many of the basic skills enabling them to take a responsible position in society as adults. In many respects, they have been leaders for their people.

Regular school attendance (sadly something that does not happen in many communities these days) meant that they were literate, numerate, able to communicate aurally and write in a clear, confident manner. Again, for many of later generations these skills are far less well established. And that is due to the issue of poor attitudes toward school attendance.

There are many indigenous Australians who are getting ahead and doing well. These tend to be people who have elected to identify as indigenous, but who have been brought up in a far more standardised, westernised urban or large town society.

Issues surrounding the stolen generation were not good from the sociological viewpoint in instances of where abuse was perpetuated. However, there were substantial outcomes of benefit. Not the least of these was the overall and ongoing benefit conferred by education.

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