Welcome to the fifth edition of the Stolen Generations' Newsletter.
In this edition we report on Constitutional Recognition, the third Anniversary of the Apology to Australia’s Indigenous Peoples and the NRL Indigenous All Stars game. We hear how Connecting Home is supporting Stolen Generations’ members in Victoria, and talk to Florence Onus, Chairperson of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation.
- News from FaHCSIA
- News from the Field
- Grants and Funding Opportunities
- Links to Articles of Interest
As well as providing you with information about policies that impact on your lives, the Stolen Generations’ Newsletter aims to highlight the fantastic work being achieved by members of the Stolen Generations and their organisations across the country. If you or your organisation have an activity or project that you would like us to include in future editions of Stolen Generations’ Newsletter, please contact us with the information or photos. We also love to share creative works, so your contributions are very welcome!
News from FaHCSIA
The Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians, appointed by the Australian Government, came to Canberra over two days in February for its first historic meeting.
The Panel consists of a range of respected and accomplished individuals, including Indigenous and community leaders, constitutional experts and parliamentary members. The Panel is co-chaired by Professor Patrick Dodson and Mr Mark Leibler AC.
Constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is an important step towards building a nation based on strong relations and mutual respect – a nation that is united in recognising and acknowledging the unique and special place of our first peoples.
The National Apology to Indigenous Australians, in particular the Stolen Generations, helped build a bridge of respect between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. It helped generate the trust needed for closing the gap. The recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution is another step in that journey.
The Expert Panel has been tasked to seek the views of all Australians on options to recognise Australia's First Peoples within the Constitution. They will soon be undertaking consultations across the country to gather peoples' views, ideas and opinions on recognition. The Panel encourages all Australians to get involved in this important national conversation.
In December 2011 consultations will culminate in the Panel's report to the Australian Government. The report will outline possible options for recognition and the likely degree of support they would receive from the Australian population.
To find out more information on Indigenous Constitutional Recognition visit the FaHCSIA website.
Members of the Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians
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News from the Field
Community groups across Australia marked the third anniversary of the Apology with a series of local events supported by the Australian Government.
Through the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation, the Government supported 72 organisations with up to $500 for Apology commemoration activities to raise awareness of the Stolen Generations, educate the community on Indigenous history and celebrate the Indigenous contribution to Australian life. A wonderful variety of events was funded including yarning sessions, BBQs, dance and music performances, art activities and tree planting ceremonies.
Members of the Stolen Generations, elders and community members alike valued the opportunity to commemorate the anniversary to keep the spirit of the Apology alive. In the words of one of the community members from the Brungle/Tumut area:
“May we all learn from the past so that we never make the same mistakes again, and we have a future that respects each individual for their culture, beliefs and passions.”
The Healing Foundation has kindly provided a brief snapshot of events around the country:
- In Tennant Creek Aninginyi Health Aboriginal Corporation invited young and old to release balloons in the colours of the Aboriginal flag. The symbolic gesture of the balloons rising together represented Indigenous people rising in unity.
Releasing balloons in Tennant Creek (photo: the Healing Foundation).
- In flood-affected Ipswich the Kambu Medical Centre, which played a pivotal role providing crisis support during the flooding, held a morning tea for elders and the wider community. This was a great moment of celebration for a community still recovering from the disaster.
- The Tumut Brungle Area Community Working Party held a memorial ceremony to acknowledge the suffering of the Stolen Generations and the ongoing need for healing. A bundle of bark and leaves from the local environment was launched in the Tumut River. The natural bark and leaves symbolised Indigenous people and their ongoing healing journey. The bundle was wound with string symbolising joining with the broader community in this journey.
For more information visit the Healing Foundation website.
FaHCSIA supported thirty members of the Stolen Generations through the two National representative organisations, National Sorry Day Committee and Stolen Generations Alliance, to attend the NRL All Stars match held on the Gold Coast. The significance of the third anniversary of the Apology was recognised with a minute’s silence just before kick-off. Unfortunately the Indigenous All Stars didn’t win but all players gave their best in a most exciting and entertaining game.
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News from FaHCSIA
The CEO of Connecting Home, John Dommett, has kindly provided the following words.
Connecting Home Limited is a Victorian state-wide organisation that has operated for the past twelve months to support members of the Stolen Generations. Although much of the first year has been taken up with establishing a new agency, we have already delivered a significant amount of support to the Victorian Stolen Generations’ community.
As a new agency, we have recently finalised our first three year Strategic Plan, which can be accessed on our webpage. Although we were busy with the set-up of Connecting Home, the Board gave us a clear direction to deliver programs to our community and it is pleasing to report that we have delivered on this in our first 12 months.
We have supported people through our:
- Marumali Programs - where we recently hosted two separate events in Mildura and Melbourne, and again in conjunction with Winangali Marumali, will hold further events later this year. This photo (right) shows participants at the Melbourne program.
- We are currently supporting people in our Partnerships In Healing Program which is designed to link people with Marumali trained Indigenous and non-Indigenous counsellors and psychologists.
- We have recently introduced case management which uses person-centred approaches and have already assisted approximately 30 people with a range of issues and referrals.
- We have formed a partnership with the Koorie Night Market (KNM) and through this working relationship are hosting an event over the Easter Long Weekend in Mildura. We have a manned stall at all KNM events and we have found that referrals and information provided at these events have steadily increased our connection with community.
- We are working with many government and non-government agencies conducting presentations and information sessions, with the aim to expand understanding about the Stolen Generations.
- Our staff are currently working closely with the Bringing Them Home program as well as Link-up so as to ensure maximum coordination across our services.
- We also run a successful education program that works closely with schools and the History Teachers Association of Victoria and Australia.
Our Board of Directors is conducting a project identifying an appropriate governance model that will be implemented in the new financial year. The model will be designed to build a sustainable organisation going forward.
For more information our contact details are on our new Connecting Home website.
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Featured Stolen Generations’ member
Florence has been the Chairperson of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Healing Foundation since its beginnings in December 2009. She is a descendant of the Birri-Gubba and Kairi/Bidjara clans of Queensland.
Stolen Generations’ members Florence Onus and Maggie Walsh with the Hon Kevin Rudd MP at the Apology Breakfast at Government House
Florence’s vision for the Healing Foundation is for it to be recognised as the authority on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander healing. Florence sees the Foundation providing Australia’s decision makers with evidence of the positive impact community healing programs have in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. This research will assist to prioritise Indigenous healing in public policy development resulting in ongoing support and funding.
Colonisation has fractured the lives of Indigenous individuals, families and communities. Florence sees the Healing Foundation encouraging these communities to access healing through community engagement and promotional campaigns.
As a Stolen Generations’ survivor Florence acknowledges the ongoing work of the Stolen Generation Alliance, the National Sorry Day Committee and Link Up. She would like to see the Stolen Generations Working Partnership (a partnership between the Australian Government and Stolen Generations’ advocates and their supporters) grow and become an effective mechanism to promote the interests of the Stolen Generations.
Beyond the Healing Foundation, Florence will continue to work to promote healing. “Because of the recognised need I’d like to work with the Palm Island community, among others, to establish their own healing centre as well as create a healing place for the Townsville region.”
“It’s been a wonderful opportunity being involved with the Healing Foundation” said Florence. ‘I’ve had the privilege of observing many different models of healing. I’d like to use this insight to benefit the communities in my region.”
Do you need more information? Would you like to add a person or organisation to our mailing list?
Contact us on the details below. We are happy to help!
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Grants and Funding Opportunities
Applications are now open and close 5.00pm Friday 6 May 2011.
The Community Heritage Grants (CHG) program provides grants of up to $15,000 to community organisations such as libraries, archives, museums, genealogical and historical societies, multicultural and Indigenous groups. The grants are provided to assist with the preservation of locally owned, but nationally significant collections of materials that are publicly accessible including artefacts, letters, diaries, maps, photographs, and audio visual material.
Applications are welcomed from not-for-profit, incorporated organisations that:
- own or manage a collection of nationally significant material;
- are accessible to the general public (‘access’ can be for research, via the Internet, or on temporary or permanent exhibition).
The types of projects supported include Significance Assessments of collections; Preservation Needs Assessments of collections; conservation activities and collection management; and training workshops.
The documents are available an the National Library of Australia's website. You can ask for advice about completing your application on 02 6262 1147.
Would you like assistance with your grant applications? Indigenous Community Volunteers (ICV) can help you with whatever you need, including filling in the forms.
ICV is a non-government registered charity that works in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to promote their wellbeing. They work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals, families and communities on community and human development projects.
ICV works in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to design and implement community development projects. Any Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individual, family, business, organisation or community can apply for ICV’s assistance. ICV will support you, your community and the volunteers throughout the process.
GrantsLINK: A directory for government grants and assistance for individuals, businesses and communities
The GrantsLINK directory has information about federal, state and local government funding programs that can help you:
- develop solutions to local and national problems
- fund ideas and initiatives
- get assistance in times of hardship.
GrantsLINK provides links and contact details for funding programs so you can get more information directly from the funding agency.
You can search GrantsLINK at the Department of Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government website.
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Links to Articles of Interest
“A Healed and healthy country: understanding healing for Indigenous Australians”, Medical Journal of Australia, 2009, Tamara Mackean.
This article discusses what healing means, and how the Apology was ‘the commencement of a healing process rather than an end in itself’. Mackean argues that for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders healing goes ‘beyond treating the disease’. Indigenous healing services need to be ‘culturally meaningful…’ and people working in the field need to be ‘culturally competent’.
Available online at the Medical Journal of Australia website.
We like to showcase written and visual art from Stolen Generations’ members. We would love you to submit your work or the work of your members so we can share it with others around the country.
To submit a piece, simply email or post the work (or a photo of your work), and don’t forget to include your name and city or town. We also need approval from the artist for their work to be shown in the newsletter.
Written works should not exceed 500 words. If you are emailing us a picture, please send it in jpeg format.
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Stolen Generations’ Newsletter is a quarterly publication, however if anything important arises that cannot wait until the next edition, we will send you an email update.