NEWS CENTRE

Reflecting on the apology to Stolen Generations

As we approach the second anniversary of the apology to the Stolen Generations on February 13, the Institute Specific Issues Committee, Indigenous Concerns, invites you to reflect on this occasion and the ongoing challenges of reconciliation through a poem written by Marea Roberts RSM (North Sydney).

At the very successful Mercy and Justice Conference in Queanbeyan in November 2009, presentations were given by a number of people at the conference, one of whom was Indigenous leader and former Australian of the Year, Professor Mick Dodson.

It was obvious to all present that Professor Dodson was very much down-at-heart because of policies being pursued by the Australian Government in relation to Indigenous Australians. Specifically, a Bill which was being debated in the Parliament and would result in further erosion of the Native Title Act, was causing him much anguish.

As we approach the anniversary of the apology to the Stolen Generations on February 13, you are encouraged to reflect on a poem by Marea Roberts RSM (North Sydney).

13 FEBRUARY 2010

Pain…
How measure Pain…
Quantify height, width, depth…
Pain pressed down… flowing over
Generation to generation…
Flesh wrenched from flesh…
Pool of pain expanding – endlessly –
Engulfing, overwhelming…
Polluting the ethos of a nation…

Then word from high echelons
Deploring past deeds, ignorant, repugnant…
Splendid words! Grand promises!
A future of Equity… Justice… Respect!
Hopes soared!

Too short a while and hearts are leaden…
Spirits near despair…
Familiar taste… bitter in the mouth …
Ashes of betrayal… Again!
Voices slighted…
Sovereign Rights sold for silver…
On quicksand of political expediency
feet find no traction…
Dreaming dashed ‘gainst megalithic power…

Pain…
How measure Pain…

Marea Roberts RSM

From: Institute Specific Issues Committee, Indigenous Concerns (Sisters Dolores Coffey, Rose Glennen, Anne McGuire, Daphne McKeough, Moira Truelson). The Committee warmly invites your response to the article or the issue.
Email: indigenous.concerns@mercy.org.au

Contact: Carmel Heagerty RSM, Institute Justice Co-ordinator
Email: Institute.Justice@mercy.org.au