Between the year 1890 and 1970, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, particularly the young generation, were moved far away from their families (Dudgeon 25). This kind of action is known as the 'Stolen Generation.' In the process of moving the young ones away, they were either taken up by government institutions or white families. The essay addresses the events surrounding the Stolen Generations. It gives an analysis of the nature of the impacts of the events to the Indigenous Australians. A reflection on the relevance of an understanding of such a historical event on the part of educators is then given. This piece of work eventually examines how such an event could either undermine or support indigenous language usage.
The Stolen Generation: Historical Background and Impacts
During the Stolen Generation era, the public of Australia was made to believe that the young ones who were being taken away were underprivileged, ill-treated and were generally at risk within their own families and communities. They were also persuaded into believing that such a move would enable the young ones to attain the best education and would be brought up in families that were more caring and loving. They would, in the end, achieve a more civilized upbringing as compared to when they were with their families. However, the truth behind all this was on the contrary to what the public was made to believe. The children were taken away with the aim of incorporating 'work habits' and 'Anglo values' on them. Working for the white settlers away from their homes and communities would act as a way of preventing their respective families from transferring to them their language, culture, and identity. The results of such a move were assimilation into the white culture and the rise of mixed indigenous individuals in Australian society. Up to today, members of 'The Stolen Generation' child removal policy are still affected in one way or the other, be it first, second or third members. Australian Prime minister, Kevin Rudd made an apology with regards to such a policy in the year 2008 (Rudd 1). As much as this was appreciated by many, more support should be advanced to the affected families.
Challenges Faced by the Stolen Generation
There are many challenges that members associated with 'The Stolen Generation' are confronted with and this could probably have a great impact on their lives (Van 298). As a result of the traumatic encounters that the young ones went through as they were being taken away from their families, they might find it hard to come out now and share their experience. Some of the reasons that can be advanced with the aim of trying to explain this could be because of; confusion and shame, lack of awareness by friends and family, the sense that no one potentially cares about them and in most cases, affected individuals prefer not to open old wounds but just leave them the way they are (Pennebaker 520). At the hands of the white settlers and the colonialist, most of the young ones who were taken away from their families underwent through sexual and physical abuse. They had psychological issues as a result of such traumatic experiences and may find it had to come out and explain what took place. As a result of this, anxiety, depression and an up rise in violence is a common occurrence in adulthood with regards to the victims. This is manifested in individuals who were largely affected by 'The Stolen Generation.'
Identity, Language, and Cultural Disconnection
The stolen generation's action of taking the children away from their families has greatly impacted not only the first generation members but also their children, grandchildren and the society in general. They were either kept in institutions or foster homes where they were never taught the basic principles of love and care. The resultant impact on their adulthood is them not being able to relate and take care of their offspring and giving them a proper upbringing in the process.
During the period where the children were being taken away, individual records were not kept accurately, and many of the young ones being taken away lacked the proper birth identification details or even adoption papers. In today's society, individuals who lack birth records find it hard to prove their identity and can't access the basic systems set up to help them. Having no records made it impossible for the individuals who had been taken away to trace their roots in terms of family and community. Lack of knowledge of the language and the culture of a community can also form the basis of someone being rejected by members of such a community. In most cases, they would have a feeling that you don't belong and fit in their cultural system.
Largely because the young ones were taken away from their families at a tender age, the Aboriginal community was at a higher risk of developing health complications and problems as compared to the non-indigenous Australians (Thompson 1483). Health concerns associated with them may include heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, premature birth, increased smoking and eventually excessive drug abuse (alcohol). The major contributor to such health issues was largely due to their emotional and psychological related issues. An inherited condition such as heart disease was also a major concern in terms of treatment because those affected could not easily track down their families and so helping them became quite a challenge.The children taken away were either kept within government institutions or in foster care homes. They, therefore, had maximum contact with the criminal justice system. As a result, such kind of children has a higher chance of getting the attention of the police as they grow up.
In conclusion, educators are encouraged to have adequate knowledge on the history and culture of the Indigenous people (Flood 25) so that they are in a position to develop a relationship with their students and impact the right knowledge to them. This would go a long way in teaching the students the history and culture of the indigenous people. It would particularly be of help to students who were by large, affected by the Stolen Generations in learning about their culture and so, in the end, they end up being accepted and integrated fully within their respective communities. As a way of keeping children engaged in class, educating them through the use of indigenous music, stories and art are very important. This piece of work has discussed and brought out the events surrounding the stolen generations era. It has analyzed the effects and impacts the Stolen Generation had on the Indigenous Australian people. It has explained the importance of educators having an in-depth knowledge of such happenings and lastly brought out how the event undermined the indigenous language and culture.
Dudgeon, Pat, et al. "The social, cultural and historical context of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians." Working together: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and wellbeing principles and practice, 2010, pp. 25-42.
Flood, Josephine M. Archaeology of the Dreamtime: The story of prehistoric Australia and her people. Sydney: Collins, 1983.
Pennebaker, James W., Emmanuelle Zech, and Bernard Rime. Disclosing and sharing emotion:
Psychological, social, and health consequences. Handbook of bereavement research: Consequences, coping, and care, 2001, pp. 517-543.
Rudd, Kevin. "Motion of Apology To Australia's Indigenous Peoples." Australian Indigenous Law Review, vol. 12, 2008, pp. 1-6.
Thompson, Samantha J., and Sandra M. Gifford. Trying to keep a balance: the meaning of health and diabetes in an urban Aboriginal community. Social science & medicine, vol. 51 no.10, (2000, pp. 1457-1472.
Van Krieken, Robert. The barbarism of civilization: cultural genocide and the 'stolen generations'1. The British journal of Sociology, vol. 50 no. 2, 1999, pp. 297-315.
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Impacts of the Stolen Generations on Australian Life. (2022, Mar 03). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/impacts-of-the-stolen-generations-on-australian-life
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