The Stolen Generation Implications Of Australian Law On The Children Of The Stolen Generation.

948 words - 4 pages

(OHP 1)Bessy Flower was born in 1943 and at the age of 19 months wasforcibly removed from her mother's arms in the South-West ofWestern Australia. Bessy spent 14 years of her life at theAnnesfield native institution where she was refused correspondencewith her parents and suffered ongoing sexual abuse. Not to mentionmalnutrition and humiliation.In 1788, aboriginal children like Bessy were first taken fromtheir families and placed in missions and institutions.(OHP 2)But, it was only after World War 2 that the number increased,because of the introduction of the "Assimilation Policy".Earlier this century, many white people believed that Aboriginieswere an inferior race. This belief was 'supported' by scientistswho thought that each race was at a different level of developmentin an ongoing process of human evolution. In this "hierarchy ofraces", Europeans were believed to be the most highly evolved,followed by Asians. At the bottom of the hierarchy wereAborigines, the richness and complexity of their culture not yetrecognised.Change came with the 1937 national conference at which the"Assimilation Policy" was adopted. The "Assimilation Policy" wasbased on the belief that "full-blood" and "half-castes", needed tobe treated in different ways. Assimilation was directed towardsthe needs of the half-castes. The policy was based on theprinciple that it was better to ease half-castes into whitesociety than leave them in a social and cultural limbo.The intentions of law-makers and administrators were usually"humane" enough. They argued that the removal of children fromcircumstances that offended white notions of family care gavechildren the chance of success in the dominant society, especiallyif they lost their sense of aboriginality. It was a legalisedabduction, which left horrific scars in almost every extendedfamily.It is estimated that while 1 in 300 non-aboriginal children havebeen removed from their parent's this century, the number forAboriginal children is 1 in 6. In the 50 years after 1912,approximately 2 out of every 3 half-caste children spent theirlives away from their parents. (OHP 3)The half-caste children were to be removed from their Aboriginalkin when they were very young, and brought up "as white children",with the same education, clothing, diet and lodging. Contact withthe Aboriginal culture was forbidden, and the children wereencouraged to forget their aboriginal background and to "livewhite, think white".(OHP 4) As well as being taught the Gospel and the three R's, theolder boys were to be instructed in music and agricultural tasks,and the older girls were to be given a basic grounding in thedomestic arts and "nursery duties". The children were to beinculcated with those habits of order, obedience and industryconsidered appropriate for a landless peasantry or a proletariat.This was to be their divinely-ordained "station" in a hierarchicalsociety.The children were treated poorly, suffering sexual, physical andemotional abuse.(TABLE)There...

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