National Sorry Day

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Angelique Pat­ter­son

MEM­BERS of the com­mu­nity came to­gether on Mon­day to com­mem­o­rate National Sorry Day and ac­knowl­edge the im­pact of the re­moval of Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lander chil­dren from their fam­i­lies. National Sorry day was first held on May 26, 1998 af­ter the Bring­ing Them Home re­port was re­leased de­tail­ing the re­moval of chil­dren and their fam­i­lies.

Shenelle Young, who opened the cer­e­mony at the Moss­man coun­cil of­fices, said she was proud to see stu­dents from dif­fer­ent schools at­tend­ing and en­sur­ing fu­ture gen­er­a­tions com­mem­o­rated the his­tor­i­cally sig­nif­i­cant day.

‘‘It’s not just one gen­er­a­tion who is af­fected,’’ she said in her speech.

‘‘It started since coloni­sa­tion and con­tin­ues to have an ef­fect on our fam­ily and our chil­dren, it’s part of our his­tory and our fu­ture.

‘‘My grand­mother was born here and was part of the Stolen Gen­er­a­tion, also my mother be­ing the el­dest daugh­ter, it was some­thing that hap­pened lo­cally and still very re­cently.’’

El­der Clara Ogilvy presided over a Wel­come to Coun­try cer­e­mony while Jayne Fejo shared her story of be­ing a de­scen­dant of the Stolen Gen­er­a­tion.

Di­vi­sion 10 Coun­cil­lor Ju­lia Leu launched Cairns Re­gional Coun­cil’s sec­ond rec­on­cil­i­a­tion ac­tion plan and promised to work on lo­cal pri­or­i­ties.

‘‘As a com­mu­nity, I be­lieve we need to think deeply about what rec­on­cil­i­a­tion re­ally means, how this good­will can be turned into real ac­tion that can make a dif­fer­ence,’’ she said.

‘‘To me, rec­on­cil­i­a­tion is about true recog­ni­tion, cul­tural re­spect, un­der­stand­ing and about work­ing to­gether as a com­mu­nity.

‘‘The RAP de­tails what we will do to cre­ate bet­ter re­la­tion­ships, be­tween Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lander peo­ple and the wider com­mu­nity, and how we as a coun­cil can con­trib­ute to help­ing to ‘close the gap’ on dis­ad­van­tage and cre­ate a com­mu­nity and so­ci­ety that is more equal and eq­ui­table.’’

Pic­ture: ANGELIQUE PAT­TER­SON

WORK­ING TO­GETHER: Jayne Fejo, Joan Salam, Clara ogilvy, Agnes Burchill, Ju­lia Leu and Shanelle Young with the next gen­er­a­tion Jas­mine Kirk, Zoe Cam­bieras, Kalee­sha Sav­age and Jye Hauser

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