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Standing strong against the new stolen generation

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Louisa L

On February 14 Alan Jones, a mere fart of the rich and powerful, said, “And we need stolen generations ...Those children for their own benefit should be taken away.”

Jones already has what he wished for. There are more Indigenous children are being removed today than at any other time in Australian history.

Four days before Jones' spoke, the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care gathered in Canberra, to discuss the crisis and what to do about it. The following day  a discussion participant, Grandmothers Against Removals (GMAR) led Elders from across Australia to protest outside Federal Parliament.

GMAR stated, “There are currently more than 15,000 Aboriginal children in so-called 'out of home care'. The majority of these removals are for alleged 'neglect' – the exact rationale provided for tens of thousands of 20th Century removals. It is a term used to denigrate Aboriginal culture and the love and care provided by Aboriginal families and communities... that masks the systematic neglect of governments that enforce conditions of extreme poverty and social trauma on our communities. It is a term used to justify a continuing project of forced assimilation.”

Reporting on the Secretariat meeting, Professor Larissa Behrendt, wrote in the Guardian that Victoria’s commissioner for Aboriginal children and young people, Andrew Jackomos, “spoke about how there is no accountability of government officers who act contrary to or without reference to department policies, particularly the 'Aboriginal child placement principle' that determines that Aboriginal children should be placed with family members as a matter of priority.

“He cited the example of being told by child protection workers, on many occasions, that they could not find Indigenous family members with which to place Indigenous children, and that he had been able to locate them within a few minutes just by using Facebook,” wrote Professor Behrendt. 

They are our future
Aunty Hazel from Gunnedah, a GMAR founding member, told the Aboriginal Elders at the protest to hold on to their anger, to fight back when people attempted to take their kids. Aunty Hazel said, “They need to take responsibility for that anger. They own it, not us. 

“A white man telling us Aboriginal people what's right for us...We go to bed black. We wake up black!... We live this life.”

She was  referring to all those institutions and servants of the state apparatus representing the ruling class, who systematically disempower and abuse Aboriginal people, not just Alan Jones, who was yet to spew forth his verbal strychnine.

“We know what's important to us,”Aunty Hazel continued. “And them children, they are our future. They are the very essence of who we are. If we don't get them back, who gonna teach them to stand up strong, to be a proud Aboriginal person? We gotta be their voice. They don't get asked where they want to go, do they want to come home?” 

Sovereignty and self-determination
According to Larissa Behrendt, “One of the key platforms that GMAR has been pursuing is an implementation of the Bringing Them Home Report”

GMAR stated, “We march to demand recognition of the continuing Sovereignty of our nations and our fundamental right to determine our own future.

“We demand Aboriginal control of Aboriginal child welfare and a massive transfer of resources into Aboriginal hands to deal with unacceptable social conditions. We demand an end to the removals and a moratorium on the use of police armed with guns, batons and pepper spray to take children.

“We demand a national restoration program to bring our children home. 

“There must be an end to the “mandatory reporting” system which creates a culture of fear and distrust...

“We demand the full domestic implementation of the 1948 Genocide Convention into Australian law…(to) challenge to the destruction of our religion, culture, bloodlines and communities...

“The Australian government commits troops to so called “peacekeeping” missions overseas, but we need an international volunteer force on the ground here to protect us from the ongoing war on our communities,” the statement continued.

Aunty Hazel's had some final words, “You don't bring our babies home, we coming, we coming for our kids!”

The struggle is building. She's not coming alone.


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