Tonight I attended the launch of the HRAFF (Human Rights @ Arts Film Festival), screening ‘After the Apology’. The film was preceded with a speech from Indigenous actress and activist, Shareena Clanton, speaking to a very personal connection to International trauma through through the impact of forced removal of her family members as part of the stolen generation.
This presentation segued perfectly into the film screening ‘After the Apology: Sorry Means You Dont Do it Again’.
A beautiful film, produced and directed by academic Larissa Behrendt, was crafted through story telling in interviews and animated sequences of the plight of Indigenous communities in NSW, particularly. Told through the eyes and words of GMAR (Grandmothers Against Removals), these were numerous cases of forced removal of children and grandchildren, taken by the state for what were demonstrably racist motivations. The structural inequality that gives way to reinforces these conditions was highlighted, revealing a system seeking to eradicate Indigenous identity through a process of forced removal. Indigenous children are currently 10 time more likely than non Indigenous children to be removed from home and places in outside care. And the costs for this significantly outweigh the costs of resourcing Aboriginal communities to place children within their extended families or in country communities instead. GMAR made a compelling case and devised a set of principles now being reviews by DOCS and FACS, that provide culturally sensitive and just pathways to negotiating children’s welfare cases. The results where this has occurred have been conclusive; there are no excuses, only rhetoric- that ensure an obstruction to self determination functions as a strategic political objectives – which renders the 2008 National Apology offered to the Stolen Generation, moot.