As stated above, this report understands this aspect of reparations, detailed in the Bringing Them Home Report, as forms of acknowledgement that recognise the past wrongs done to Stolen Generations. The Steering Committee has considered the below consultation data and makes the following recommendations to ensure formal recognition of the Stolen Generations experience is included within Victorian Reparations.
The 2008 Stolen Generations Victoria, Unfinished Business Report and the Bringing Them Home Report both made recommendations on memorials for Stolen Generations. The Bringing Them Home Report stated that memorials are significant in acknowledging and ‘commemorating individuals, families, and communities’ affected by Stolen Generations policies ‘at the local and regional levels’.207 18 out of 63 Stolen Generations people who completed the Stolen Generations Reparations survey stated that acknowledgment and recognition of their experiences was the most important part of Reparations for them.
There were consistent requests from Stolen Generations and family throughout consultation sessions for markers or memorials to acknowledgment and commemorate Stolen Generations in Victoria. A Stolen Generations consultation participant stated that the most important part of Reparations for them was ‘Acknowledgment of the Stolen Generations that have passed and never got a chance for their voice to be heard.’ It is noted that there are some existing markers noted in 2.3 Victorian Responses to the Bringing Them Home Report which may serve as a precedent for other local government authorities.
The Steering Committee recommends that markers to acknowledge and commemorate the Stolen Generations experience are established by the Victorian Government, all Local Government Authorities, all Aboriginal Co-operatives and service providers, and by Victoria Police.
To order to fulfill this recommendation, the following is recommended:
The Steering Committee recommends that a Victorian State Government monument be established to honour and commemorate Victorian Stolen Generations. It is recommended that this include individual plaques that name all Stolen Generations in Victoria, living and deceased, and that this be developed in consultation with the Stolen Generations Advisory Committee (detailed in 4.2 Accountability and Evaluation, recommendation 14).
A consultation participant stated ‘We need a memorial wall for Stolen Gen – with the names of every person who has been removed – there will be thousands and thousands and thousands of names on there. It would be good to also have photos or plaques of people whose names are on that wall… this can be a place where the broader community can see who was removed… We don’t know how many children have been removed.’
- The Steering Committee recommends that all Local Government Authorities (LGAs), directed by the Minister of Local Government, establish plaques to honour and commemorate Stolen Generations. It is recommended that all LGAs complete a plaque in consultation with Stolen Generations living in their region. It is also recommended that a dedicated position be established to develop a markers strategy across Victoria and that this sits within an existing Stolen Generations organisation.
- The Steering Committee recommend that all Aboriginal Co-operatives and service providers establish plaques that acknowledge Stolen Generations and to foster reconciliation between Stolen Generations and the Aboriginal community in Victoria. It is recommended that all Aboriginal Co-operatives and service providers complete a memorial in consultation with Stolen Generations living in their region.
- It is also recommended that the Victoria Police Academy establish a plaque acknowledging Stolen Generations and their involvement in removing children from family, community, Culture, Country and identity. It is recommended that this be developed in consultation with the Stolen Generations Advisory Committee (detailed in 4.2 Accountability and Evaluation, recommendation 14).
207 Stolen Generations Victoria, 2008, Unfinished Business: Reparations, Restitution and Rehabilitation; Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 1997, Bringing Them Home Report