The Stolen Generation

I met a victim of the stolen generation yesterday at a bar. For those who are unfamiliar with the stolen generation, it was a government attempt to “civilise” the aboriginal people by stealing their children and placing them in white families. Children were often abused, parents and families were ruined, and it wasn’t until 2008 that prime minister  Kevin Rudd apologised for the atrocities.

This guy was talking about how he was stolen from his family at three weeks old. He didn’t find out he had an aboriginal mother until he was 16. He was bred to be a rugby player and knew nothing else until he was roughly 19. He was saying his mother was an alcoholic, which may have been why he was stolen, but he holds no anger over it. He was born in Redfern, a suburb in Sydney and raised about an hour away in Hurstville. Eventually he did come to meet his birth parents and maintained a relationship with both his white family and his birth family.

I can’t imagine what it would be like to find out you were stolen from your family, robbed of a culture and lifestyle you were meant to have, and forced into mainstream society. And this happened to several people over the course of decades. It’s very impressive he holds no grudges and has since let go of any animosity he had for the situation. He said he was just lucky he was able to be reunited with his birth family because so many aren’t as lucky.

He’s now 63, both sets of parents have since passed, and he moved to where it is sunny and warm most of the year. He never moved to his aboriginal community, but he does share that he is proudly aboriginal. He did say the apology was a step in the right direction, but there is still a long road ahead for the aboriginal people.

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