"The Stolen Generations"- Australian Aboriginal children~1900-1972

Essay by curb64High School, 10th grade July 2006

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The Stolen Generations

Stolen Generation is the term used for the Australian Aboriginal children who were removed from their families by Australian government agencies and church missions between 1900 and 1972. They were taken to assimilate aboriginal children to European society. It was considered child welfare, it is perceived by many as a gross violation of human rights today, having wrought extensive family and cultural damage. It was racially discriminatory, because it only applied to aboriginal children on that scale and it was an act of genocide contrary to the Convention on Genocide, (which forbids 'forcibly transferring children of [a] group to another group' with the intention of destroying the group.)

According to the government, at least 35,000 children were removed from their parents, and the figure may be substantially higher (records were poorly kept). It is estimated that 10-30% of all Aboriginal children born during that period were removed from their mothers.

The children were sent to institutions, either run by churches or the government and lived in dormitories separated from siblings. Some were adopted or sent to foster homes and lived under harsh conditions. Most worked as slaves sometimes not getting paid.

Children of full Aboriginal descent were removed, but the children of "mixed descent" ("half-castes") were the most targeted. A 1937 Federal Government conference on Native Welfare concluded in its final report that "...the destiny of the natives of aboriginal origin, but not of the full blood, lies in their ultimate absorption by the people of the Commonwealth, and it therefore recommends that all efforts be directed to that end." [http://www.answers.com/topic/stolen-generation]

Adults of the stolen generations suffered insecurity, poor self-esteem, depression, suicide, violence, abuse of drugs and alcohol, lack of parental modeling and an inability to trust. Many of the children were experienced physical and...