Indigenous Perspectives


​Sorry Day – 26 May

The first National Sorry Day was held on May 26, 1998, which was one year after the tabling of a report about the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families. The report, known as Bringing Them Home, acknowledged that Indigenous children were forcibly separated from their families and communities since the early days of European occupation in Australia. Governments and missionaries were responsible for this forced separation.

Systematic removal practices were implemented through various assimilation and "protection" policies by the late 19th century. Many Indigenous children were forcibly taken away from their families in the name of assimilation during the 1950s and 1960s. These children are known as the "Stolen Generations". They were brought up in institutions or fostered to non-Indigenous families. This removal was official government policy in Australia until 1969.


National Reconciliation Week – 27 May to 3 June

National Reconciliation Week is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.

The dates for NRW remain the same each year; 27 May to 3 June. These dates commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey— the successful 1967 referendum, and the High Court Mabo decision respectively.

Reconciliation must live in the hearts, minds and actions of all Australians as we move forward, creating a nation strengthened by respectful relationships between the wider Australian community, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

(from the Reconciliation Australia website)

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day – 4 August

The Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC) established this day in 1988. Each year, SNAICC has a theme for Children’s Day to highlight a significant issue, concern or hope for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. The date, 4th August, was historically used to communally celebrate the birthdays of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who were taken from their families at a young age, without knowing their birthday – the Stolen Generation. This year, the theme is “We are the Elders of tomorrow, hear our voice.” It celebrates the uniqueness and importance of the knowledge and wisdom of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, starting in childhood. Hearing children’s voices today plays a crucial role in their development towards being influential Elders and leaders of the future.

For more information, click on the link below to take you to the official website. There is great video (in Resources) of the story No Way Yirrikipayi read by Nina Black and the children of Milikapiti School, Melville Island in the NT.

Last reviewed 04 August 2020
Last updated 04 August 2020