Apology Day marked in Kingscliff
A NATIVE pink hibiscus plant from today symbolises Kingscliff TAFE'S recognition of the National Apology to the Stolen Generation on February 13, 2008.
On Apology Day's fourth anniversary students and teachers helped themselves to kangaroo sausages and crocodile hamburgers, and then planted the hibiscus.
It was a low-key event to mark ongoing spiritual healing - which the pink flower represents - of the Stolen Generations.
Aboriginal health and cultural education teacher Bev Lipscomb said all were differently affected by the "removal policy" of yesteryear.
"My people, the Wiradjuri were affected because they wanted the area for pastoral country," Ms Lipscomb said.
"We recognise as a people we can't speak on behalf of all.
"I was affected by the assimilation policy, at the expense of losing our families.
"Now we're reconnecting with our families, and the apology helped."
Campus manager Fran O' Hara said then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's 2008 apology was on behalf of the government.
It was to Indigenous nations with particular reference to the stolen generations, she said.
"He said 'For the pain, hurt and suffering of the stolen generations - we are sorry'.
"The apology is the first step toward healing.
"Today here on the grounds of the Kingscliff TAFE we'll be planting the pink hibiscus, which is found all over Australia, and is a survivor.
"I'd like to thank Sean Daly and the Student Association people for helping with the barbecue."
Ms Lipscomb said the day was part of "moving forward and engaging with the local community and the TAFE".
"The apology was from the government," she said.
"Not necessarily from today's generation, though it wasn't that long ago, but it's an apology from the government for past policies and practices.
"There's certainly no blame or guilt from today's generation, and after all it's part of Australia's history.
"We just make one day per year when we can recognise it and move forward.
"There's a lot of similarities between most Australians and the Indigenous - we're spiritual, while most Australians are religious," she said.
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