‘It still hurts’: Katungul commemorates Bringing Them Home

SHARING STORIES: Katungul's Loretta Parsley with Shanna Provost at Bringing Them Home commemorations on Monday in Batemans Bay.

SHARING STORIES: Katungul's Loretta Parsley with Shanna Provost at Bringing Them Home commemorations on Monday in Batemans Bay.

Two decades have passed since the Bringing Them Home report, but the healing continues for the Eurobodalla’s Indigenous community.

Katungul Aboriginal Corporation and Medical Service commemorated the anniversary on Monday with a formal gathering and smoking ceremony at their Batemans Bay centre.

Guest speakers Shanna Provost and Muriel Slockee shared their experiences as part of the hidden and stolen generations.

Ms Provost said sharing personal stories was vital to healing the trans-generational scars.

“These events are really important for community members to get together to provide support to each other,” she said.

Many still felt the effects of the damage done to the stolen generations.

“It is a sad story and this is a safe place for all people to sit in the sadness of that story,” she said.

It’s a long journey, it’s a long road to travel. As a nation, we are only starting on that journey. - Shanna Provost

The report was tabled in the Australian Parliament in 1997 and documented the effect of the stolen generations on Indigenous communities. The report handed down more than 50 recommendations in response to the findings, but many are yet to be implemented.

“It’s a long journey, it’s a long road to travel. As a nation, we are only starting on that journey,” Ms Provost said.

She hoped the next 20 years would see young Indigenous people continue to rise to more prominent roles in the community.

Mrs Slockee, a child of the stolen generations, said it was painful to witness the lasting effect of forcible removal.

“Bringing Them Home still is really sore,” Mrs Slockee said.

“Children are still being stolen, it still hurts, it’s just happening in a different way.

“I hope that when we have our jubilee, we can celebrate by stopping all this rubbish and being open and honest as a nation to our first people.

“We need a fair go.”

Katungul’s commemorations will conclude on Friday, May 19, with a day of coil weaving, oyster shucking, ochre face painting, possum cloak photos and a communal canvas painting. Activities start 10am.

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