The removal by the federal authorities, with the co-operation of churches, of many Aboriginal children—now known as the "stolen generations"—from their families between 1910 and 1970 remains one of the most sensitive and hotly debated issues in Australian society. Many of the children were put in church-run institutions where it was intended they should adapt to white culture.
The council represents 13 major churches, including Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Uniting, Orthodox and the Salvation Army. In a statement last week the council's executive body recommended the establishment of a "healing commission" and a national government fund to either compensate or otherwise help the victims of forcible removal.
The National Council of Churches has now publicly committed itself to educating the churches on their involvement in the history of child removal, making church and agency records accessible and addressing allegations of abuse in church-related institutions.
In a public statement, the council's executive described the removals as "a complex tragedy," adding that "the fundamental truth of the stories of the Stolen Generations, and their pain, cannot be denied. As representatives of the churches, we call on our people, and the nation at large, to acknowledge the validity of the Bringing them Home report and its recommendations."
The Bringing Them Home report was the result of an inquiry by the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, a federal government body, into the forced ...1
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