Sorry Day commemoration

By Laura Briggs

Students and community members will acknowledge and recognise members of the Stolen Generation at a Sorry Day ceremony on Monday.

National Sorry Day is an annual event that has been in Australia on May 26 to remember and commemorate the mistreated Aboriginal people and the children who were forcibly removed from their families as a result of various government policies between 1910 and 1970.

The day was established in 1998 following the release of the 1997 Bringing Them Home report that was written in response to efforts made by key indigenous agencies and communities concerned that the general public’s ignorance of the history of forcible removal was hindering the recognition of the needs of its victims and their families and the provision of services.

Shepparton Region Reconciliation Group co-convenor Deirdre Robertson said the 680-page report went into detail of what the Aboriginal people faced in that time.

‘‘The stories you read in that report were horrendous,’’ she said.

‘‘The fear, the heartbreak, the sorrow, the terror.’’

Ms Robertson said Sorry Day was an annual event to not only remember those who were mistreated, but it was a time for the Aboriginal people to heal.

‘‘It’s a time to help repair a lot of the hurt and the pain,’’ she said.

‘‘The impact for those children in their communities is ongoing and reverberating across the communities.’’

She said although things were different today, the Aboriginal people were still dealing with the repercussions.

‘‘I’d say you’d be going to find a family that hasn’t been affected by the stolen generations,’’ she said.

Ms Robertson said Sorry Day would be recognised through a ceremony and a commemorative walk in Shepparton on Sunday.

The ceremony will have students from various schools across the region taking part in a range of formalities along with special guest Aunty Faye Lynhan who will speak on behalf of the Stolen Generation.

The Sorry Day ceremony will be at Monash Park in Shepparton on Monday, May 27, at 10.30am and will be followed by the commemorative walk at 11.15am.

An additional ceremony will be at La Trobe University Shepparton campus from 5pm.