The Stolen Generation

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1) Explain the Stolen Generation (when did it occur/who was responsible and why government officials believed they were justified in taking these actions).

The Stolen Generation was a very lonely and depressing time for the indigenous people of Australia. It lasted an overwhelming 60 years in which an estimated 100 000 aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were forcibly removed from their families and land to be raised in homes or adopted by white families. This Policy was designed to ‘breed out’ Indigenous people until there was none left. These children became known as the ‘Stolen Generations’.

The forced removal of these Indigenous children became an official government policy from 1909 to 1969. However these acts of removing Indigenous children from their homes occurred before and after these dates.

The Aborigines Protection Board (APB) managed this removal policy; Governments, Churches and welfare bodies all took part in this operation. The Government gave the APB the power to forcibly remove Indigenous children without parental consent and without a court order in 1909.Children were to be fixated to an institution or mission dormitory, fostered or adopted.

The Government under the White Australia and Assimilation Policies tried to encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who were not of pure blood to become incorporated into the broader community of white Australian’s so that eventually there would be no Indigenous people left. At the current time the white Australians thought they were superior to the Indigenous people and that they were doing them a favour by giving them an education and clothing them, even though they only educated them to a certain extent so that they could work as labourers or servants.

Children were extracted from their Indigenous culture so they could be brought up white and ‘taught’ to reject their Aboriginality. These children were distributed to institutions and from roughly the 1950’s were also allocated to white families. The APB only educated the Aboriginal children so that they could become labourers or servants, so their education was very poor. They did not educate them to a satisfactory ‘white’ standard because the white people could stay in power and hold the higher positions in society. The Aboriginal girls that were forcibly removed from their families were sent to homes and facilities authorized by the Board to be trained in domestic service.

The white people did not understand or respect the Aboriginal people or their way of life, this also meant that the people who supported the policy thought they were doing the ‘right thing’. Some of these people also believed the aboriginal people lived impecunious and unrewarding lives and that the institutions they were placed in would be a more appropriate environment in which the Aboriginal people could better themselves. The white people thought the Aboriginals were stupid and had no tools or houses and could not provide for themselves. When in-fact they were just so blind to the fact that the Aboriginal culture was based off living as one with the earth and the white people couldn’t perceive and accept their way of life.

The dominant, bigoted racist views that were part of the white society and government at the time also meant that people believed that Aboriginal people were bad parents and that the Aboriginal women did not feed or look after their children accordingly. They didn’t realize that the Indigenous people lived of the land and used the nuts and plants for medicine, they only took what they needed from the land. They were not greedy, unlike white people who harvested massive crops and wore fancy clothing. So the white people took it upon themselves to try and exterminate the aborigines by breeding them with white people until there was none left.

No one really knows how many Indigenous people were taken from their homes and lands, because most records of this tragic time have...
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