The stories of Australia's "Stolen Generations"

I note that this hoax is now in the plural: "Generations". It was originally singular.

I have no doubt that the experiences described below are largely true.  Many Aboriginal children were relocated from their homes and the experience was no doubt traumatic in many cases.

The big unsaid thing in the matter is WHY Australian governments for a time did such relocations.  From the article below you are left to assume that it was from evil impulses, "Racism" probably.

But it was nothing of the sort.  The removals were part of the normal child welfare practices of the time.  To this day Aboriginal men are very hard on their children, with even feeding them being haphazard.  And drunkenness in particular is  rife and generates a lot of physical conflict.

In short, the children were removed to protect them from abuse and sometines death. They were adopted into white families because safe black families were hard to find.  And it was felt that reorienting them to white culture while they were in an adoptive family would be advantageous to them

But personality is heavily hereditary so that was usually a doomed effort.  The children simply reinstated in their own lives the parental behaviour that had got them removed in the first place.  As the man below describes his life: "considerable time spent drinking heavily and living on the streets - including a few short stints in prison". Like father like son.

Melbourne, Australia - When Archie Roach speaks, his eyes close, deep in thought, as if taking on the countenance of an ancient, blind seer.

Reflecting on his life takes considerable courage; removed from his family as a child as part of Australia's Stolen Generations, Roach would experience alcoholism, homelessness and even a suicide attempt before sobering up and becoming the internationally-recognised singer-songwriter most know him as today.

His life story is now recounted in a new autobiography, Tell Me Why, which - like his music and lyrics - is written with passion, beauty and a hint of sadness.

"[Many people] hear about Stolen Generations but don't realise the journey that one makes, or takes, to find their way back - if they do at all," Roach said. "I wanted to write about that, and what I've learned through the years."

Now 64, Roach's love of music came from his adoptive father, a Scottish migrant who would sing the traditional songs of his homeland around the dinner table.

After being removed as part of Australia's policy to assimilate Indigenous children into white families, Roach was adopted into what he describes as a stable home.

It was during high school that he would receive a letter from his then unbeknownst older Indigenous sister that would set Roach on a remarkable journey to find his biological family.

After considerable time spent drinking heavily and living on the streets - including a few short stints in prison - Roach would eventually reconnect with his Aboriginal family.

Deep-seated trauma

Yet the trauma of his removal, and the impact it had had on his community, was deeply felt. He would begin to write songs about his, and his family's, experiences, and in 1991, rose to prominence with the song Took the Children Away.

Tell Me Why describes in considerable detail, the effect of his removal and separation would have, including on his own children and grandchildren.

"I explain to [my grandchildren] about being taken away and it's very confusing for them at first. And they get older and they think about it and it actually upsets them when you talk about it now. Because they are hurt, because their own grandfather was taken away from their family.

"They can't understand why that would have happened in the first place. And that's the question they ask too - 'why did they do that?' [And I have to say] 'I don't know. They probably thought we'd be better off.'"

Along with the emotional trauma, Roach said the removals had severe cultural implications. "You couldn't speak [Indigenous] language - they'd lock you up. You couldn't practise cultural practices - they'd lock you up or withhold rations.

"So we grew up and we weren't able to teach our children and grandchildren language, dance and things like that."

Roach said he was fortunate to eventually find his biological family, but acknowledged that there were many Indigenous children who did not.

He said he hopes that readers understand "that this happened, in this country. Not just to me but thousands of other children. And some of them never made it back. And some of us did, and were fortunate."


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