Saturday, May 26th, 2007, marked the tenth anniversary of National Sorry Day in Australia. However, those who have waited patiently for an official apology to Aboriginals from Prime Minister John Howard and the Commonwealth (federal) Government of Australia are still waiting.
Dawn over the 348-metre high, 3.6 kilometre long Uluru (Ayers Rock), which is a seat of deep cultural significance for the Anangu Aboriginal people and generally considered Australia's most famous tourist attraction. Photograph by Ayres no graces and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 License.
In Spring 1997, the damning conclusions of the "Bringing Them Home" report - which investigated the coerced separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families in a misguided policy of assimilation that continued into the early 1970s - were released. Flatly denouncing Australian state, territorial and federal governments for what it considered genocide, the 689-page report attracted a flurry of media attention and became one of the biggest national stories of the year.
A total of 54 recommendations were tabled. These included the payment of reparations to victims, facilitation for rehabilitation and reconciliation, the observation of an annual "Sorry Day," and a simple apology from Australian governments and other involved agencies.
On May 26, 1998, one year after the report was presented to Federal Parliament, the first National Sorry Day was "celebrated." In a touching, grassroots display of compassion and unity, tens of thousands of Australians of all ethnicities came together in events across the country to acknowledge the harm inflicted on the Aboriginal people ...
Click here, for the full story at ethicaltraveler.org.
Felix (a.k.a. me) is a regular contributor to Ethical Traveler, a project of the San Francisco-based Earth Island Institute.