Rabbit Proof Fence

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Rabbit Proof Fence in the context of Australian identity:

In the introductory lecture our attention was focused on a number of core themes which run throughout the course. One such theme was the concept of a nation and the way in which cultural products of the nation shape our sense of identity. Rabbit Proof Fence is an important film to examine within this context as it is the first international film to examine the issue of Australia's Stolen Generation. The film brought the story of the Australian Stolen Generation to a wide audience, both nationally and internationally. Today I am going to consider what kind of impact the film had and also a number of important points concerning the film.

The film is an adaptation of the 1996 book ‘Follow the Rabbit Proof Fence' by Doris Garimara. The story is concerned with the journey of three young aboriginal girls who escape from the Moore River Native Settlement and walk the 1600 kilometers home to Jigalong. The three young girls were taken from their homes in the 1930s and placed in settlements initiated by government policy which forcibly removed half caste children from their aboriginal families. Soon after their arrival they escape and begin their long journey back to their tribal homelands.

First we must examine the context in which the film was released. The film was prompted by the report of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission entitled Bringing Them Home. The report commissioned by the Keating government made a number of various findings. The most controversial of which was the finding that the policies of forcible separation constituted genocide within the terms of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. These findings in turn led to a demand for an apology by the Australian government which the new Prime Minister John Howard refused to give. Consequently the issue of the Stolen Generation is a contentious one within Australian...
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