Leading South Australian not-for-profit Uniting Communities will lead the annual Apology Day event in Adelaide tomorrow, the 10th anniversary of the National Apology to Australia’s Indigenous people.

Honouring the Stolen Generations, this year’s event will begin with a peaceful walk from Tarntanyangga/Victoria Square to Veale Gardens. Committee Chairperson and Uniting Communities’ staff member, Tangi Ngateina, says that the day offers a chance to reflect on the progress made over the past ten years and the work that still needs to be done.

‘We’re thrilled to be leading the team running this important anniversary event,’ she says. ‘It not only marks an important occasion in our nation’s history, but reminds us that without ongoing recognition, reconciliation and reparation, the healing journey for the survivors of the Stolen Generation cannot continue.’

The walk will be followed by a smoking ceremony, barbeque and activities including story-telling, traditional healers, and performances from local singers and dancers. Lord Mayor of Adelaide, Martin Haese, will attend Veale Gardens from approximately 10.30 am.

A learning trail will be set up to raise awareness of the history, anguish and suffering of the Stolen Generation, looking at the effects on their social and emotional wellbeing and that of the generations that have followed.

‘It is important to remember that the anguish and suffering felt by the Stolen Generations as a result of being taken from their families has had long-term implications,’ says Event Coordinator, Toni Arundel. ‘We need to acknowledge the ongoing impact this has also had on our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.’

In keeping with the theme of the day, there will be a focus on healing and pampering, sharing a meal and celebrating cultural ceremonial practices. In addition, a coolamon – a traditional Aboriginal carrying vessel – will be on display to symbolise a cradle and a Mother’s arms left empty after the removal of her children. There will be an opportunity to place the gum leaves as a symbol of healing and cleansing in the coolamon.

‘Veale Gardens is a great place to finish the peaceful walk,’ says Ms Ngateina. ‘It’s a beautiful, peaceful venue with surroundings which evokes a sense of connection to land and provides an opportunity for quiet reflection.’

The Healing Foundation has provided a grant to support the event. The Foundation partners with communities to address ongoing trauma caused by the disruption and mistreatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, supporting more than 45,000 people in their personal healing journeys.

‘Our Stolen Generations suffered enormously as a result of past government policies of forced child removal and assimilation,’ Healing Foundation CEO, Richard Weston, says. ‘It is important that we commemorate this significant anniversary as a nation and focus on what still needs to be done to address the impacts of unresolved trauma caused by the Stolen Generations policies.’

In addition to Uniting Communities’ Aboriginal Community Connect service and Healing Foundation, the Committee organising the event includes representatives from Reconciliation SA, Nunkuwarrin Yunti of SA, Relationships Australia SA, City of Adelaide, Tauondi Aboriginal College, Aboriginal Family Support Services, Journey of Healing Association of SA and Baptist Care.

For media comment
Tangi Ngateina, Chairperson
(08) 8202 5616 or 0400 483 194

Toni Arundel, Event Coordinator
(08) 8168 8300 or 0457 132 504

We acknowledge that this is the traditional lands for the Kaurna people and that we respect their spiritual relationship with their country. We also acknowledge the Kaurna people as the custodians of the greater Adelaide region and that their cultural and heritage beliefs are still as important to the living Kaurna people today. We pay respect to Elders both past and present. We extend this acknowledgement to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people Australia-wide.