Trees sym­bol of our sor­row

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - FRONT PAGE -

CURTIN Uni­ver­sity stu­dents, lec­tur­ers and of­fi­cials came to­gether as one last Thurs­day for a sym­bolic tree plant­ing cer­e­mony to recog­nise Na­tional Sorry Day.

THE Na­tional Sorry Day tree plant­ing cer­e­mony at Curtin Uni­ver­sity last Thurs­day was well at­tended, but an Abo­rig­i­nal Stud­ies lec­turer says Aus­tralia still has a way to go be­fore the true his­tory of the Stolen Gen­er­a­tion is com­pletely ap­pre­ci­ated.

Robin Bar­ring­ton, a lec­turer at the Cen­tre for Abo­rig­i­nal Stud­ies and de­scen­dant of the Badimia Ya­matji peo­ple of the Murchi­son re­gion WA, said she felt dis­ap­pointed there were still peo­ple who de­nied the Stolen Gen­er­a­tion.

“Talk­ing about it and ac­knowl­edg­ing it is part of the process of heal­ing, but of course there are still some de­niers,” she said. “There are cer­tain me­dia com­men­ta­tors and politi­cians who ques­tion the truth be­hind the ter­ri­ble things that were sur­vived.”

While Ms Bar­ring­ton ac­knowl­edged for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Kevin Rudd’s pub­lic apol­ogy in 2008, she thought the cur­ricu­lum in schools for Aus­tralian his­tory should be al­tered.

“There’s been a lot of talk about whether chil­dren should be taught about Aus­tralian his­tory as an in­va­sion, rather than a peace­ful set­tle­ment,” she said.

“My opin­ion is the same as Ed­die Mabo when he was go­ing through the courts for his recog­ni­tion.

“It’s hard to un­der­stand why we’re hav­ing a de­bate as to whether it was an in­va­sion; I don’t know how else to de­scribe it.

“Set­tle­ment was based on the idea that the land was empty, and that’s clearly false. But I guess there are many dif­fer­ent in­ter­pre­ta­tions of his­to­ries.”

Ms Bar­ring­ton said the flower planted at the cer­e­mony – a na­tive hibis­cus – was the per­fect choice.

“It’s very sym­bolic. It grows across Aus­tralia and had been approved by the Na­tional Stolen Gen­er­a­tions Al­liance as the sym­bol for Na­tional Sorry Day,” she said.

Pic­ture: Will Rus­sell­mu­ni­ d454653

Robin Bar­ring­ton, co-or­di­na­tor of the in­dige­nous com­mu­nity man­age­ment and de­vel­op­ment pro­gram at Curtin, and Sarah Franz from the stu­dents’ guild.

Pic­ture: Will Rus­sell­mu­ni­ d454653

Lec­turer Robin Bar­ring­ton, co-or­di­na­tor of the In­dige­nous Com­mu­nity man­age­ment and de­vel­op­ment pro­gram.

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