May 26 in History
1998 – The first ‘National Sorry Day’ is held in Australia, with nationwide reconciliation events attended by over a million people
National Sorry Day is an annual event in Australia on 26 May. It commemorates the “Stolen Generations” — the Aboriginal Australian and Torres Strait Islander children who were forcibly separated from their families in an attempt to assimilate them into white Australian culture during the 20th century.
National Sorry Day or the National Day of Healing, held on this day annually commemorates the ‘Stolen Generations’ -the Aboriginal Australian and Torres Strait Islander children who were forcibly separated from their families in an attempt to assimilate them into white Australian culture during the 20th century. The Day is also part of the ongoing efforts towards reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
The first National Sorry Day was held on this day in 1998 by a coalition of Australian community groups, marking one year after the 1997 Bringing Them Home report was tabled in Australian Parliament.. The report was the result of an inquiry into the government policies and practices which caused the Stolen Generations. Among its fifty-four recommendations were that funding be allocated for Indigenous healing services and that reparations should be made in the form of formal apologies.
While Prime Minister John Howard refused to apologize, stating that he “did not subscribe to the black armband view of history”, his successor Kevin Rudd issued a formal apology in 2008 on behalf of the federal government.
National Sorry Day has also inspired many public acts of solidarity and in support of reconciliation.
Protests have also been held on Sorry Day, with protestors arguing that Indigenous children have continued to be forcibly relocated under the child protection system and government systems have failed to adequately support them. Although there have been efforts implemented by state governments, a national reparation scheme has not been established.
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