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Curtin marks the anniversary of the Apology with reflection and discussion

News story

Two years on from Prime Minister Rudd’s groundbreaking Apology to the Indigenous Australians, Curtin’s Centre for Aboriginal Studies (CAS) marked the anniversary with a day of reflection and discussion on the University’s Bentley campus on Friday 12 February 2010.

The CAS foyer became a meeting place for staff, students and local community members to discuss and reflect upon the apology. Thought boards were on hand for those who preferred to write down their feelings about the apology whilst a discussion session allowed the more vocal to have their say.

Emotions and opinions ran high during the discussion session.

Nyungar elder Rosemary Van Den Berg, says from her perspective there hasn’t been much change.

‘There has been a couple of things but not many changes really – Kevin Rudd has been making promises he can’t really keep,’ she says.

Rosemary, who works in Curtin’s Faculty of Health, remembers her feelings when the apology was read.

‘I had mixed feelings at the time. On the one hand I was really happy he had apologised to the Stolen Generation but on the other hand I was thinking about all the Aboriginal people that were involved as well.’

This focus on the Stolen Generation is something that Rosemary believes has in some ways, overshadowed the grief felt by all indigenous people.

‘All over the country Aboriginal people have suffered – not just the Stolen Generation. It was their parents, their grandparents… their ancestors.’

And what does Rosemary hope for, two years further down the line?

‘I hope there are more Aboriginal people in health and education as well as owning their own homes. I also hope that we stop being judged as a race from the result of actions of the few. We aren’t the only people who commit crimes in this country.’

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