National Sorry Day is about all Australians sharing in the sorrow of the Stolen Generations and their families.
This National Sorry Day, the team at CCWA renews our commitment to a path of reconciliation. We reaffirm our commitment to work with Indigenous colleagues across the state to decolonise our approach to conservation. We recognise that Country is sacred to Aboriginal people and continue to work together with our partners to achieve just and mutually beneficial conservation outcomes.
CCWA recognises that, in the words of Kilkaig woman, Ms Tishiko King,
‘First Nations people are intrinsically entwined and connected to Country. We are inherently a part of our natural ecosystems where bloodlines run deep into our land and oceans. We must protect Country so that Country can protect us.’
National Sorry Day was established one year after the 1997 publication of the Bringing Them Home report, which found that from 1910-1970, the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children removed from their families was between 1 in 10 and 1 in 3. The report states that “Indigenous families and communities have endured gross violations of their human rights. These violations continue to affect Indigenous people's daily lives. They were an act of genocide, aimed at wiping out Indigenous families, communities, and cultures, vital to the precious and inalienable heritage of Australia.” This is not ancient history. The last formally recorded massacre of Aboriginal people in WA was less than 100 years ago in January 1930. Taking children from their families continued into the late 1970s, where they often experienced neglect and abuse. Many people still struggle with the trauma of these genocidal policies today.
This year, CCWA particularly recognises the message offered in friendship to Australia through the Uluru Statement from the Heart. We recognise and acknowledge its main request to form a Voice to Parliament. CCWA supports the Voice and is working through practical ways it can support its adoption. We also agree that truth telling is critical to the reconciliation journey. To take action today, we encourage all of our supporters to sign an e-petition to the WA Legislative Council below that has been proposed by one of our supporters to ask for the establishment of a Western Australian Truth-Telling and Justice Commission.
The Commission should act as:
- A mechanism to hold the State Government to account on injustices
- A way to ensure services and systems are designed and operated in a culturally safe way
- A tool to make broad recommendations about practical actions and reforms to address systemic racial issues
We respectfully acknowledge the Whadjuk People of Noongar Boodjar, along with the Traditional Owners of all Countries where CCWA operates.
We seek to always walk alongside our Aboriginal partners, and pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.