Brisbane Community Elders, ANTar and the Musgrave Park Cultural Centre in Brisbane put on a great day to celebrate the apology to the Stolen Generations yesterday (13 February 2008).
Over 500 people crowded inside and outside Jagera Hall to celebrate the apology given by the Federal Parliament to the Stolen Generations. People from as far away as Cuba were at Jagera yesterday to witness this defining moment in the history of our community, made more significant because of the Howard government’s refusal to say ‘Sorry’.
Members of the Stolen Generations and their relatives spoke out about the sadness and grief they had been put through when taken away.
Mike Reynolds, the speaker of the Queensland parliament, endorsed the apology along with Helen Abrahams – Councillor for Dutton Park ward on Brisbane’s inner southside. Helen Abrahams promised to hand over control of local arts and community projects to the Murri community.
One young brother spoke strongly saying that it was important for Blacks to Unite first and then to bring in the White people.
Thanks to Natalie (Director of Musgrave Park Cultural Centre), Monique (ANTar), and eleders Aunty Joan and Aunty Valda, Uncle Huey (especially for his gum leaf renditions of Advance Australia Where) and the dancers. The food and drinks provided were plentiful and delicious.
The SORRY mural signed with the Black and White hands was beautiful (see pictures below). BushTelegraph includes a few of the photos taken yesterday to share the the experience with others who could not be there (thanks to Marcial for the photos).
A screen had been set up to show Rudd’s apology speech. Rudd’s speech was not even played, it was lost in the speeches of the stolen ones and community celebrations.
In the end, Howard’s refusal to give an apology and Rudd’s subsequent apology played second fiddle to a display of Murri determination and community solidarity displayed on Sorry day at Jagera Hall in Musgrave Park.
Hopefully the organisation that was shown yesterday will remain strong for the struggles ahead.
14 February 2008
Uncle Huey, a Burragubba elder welcomes the people to Sorry Day at Jagera Hall in Musgrave Park on 13 February 2008.
Dancers perform a fire ceremony and welcome for the crowd
Mike Reynolds, speaker of the Queensland Parliament ‘signs’ the Reconciliation banner (above)
Murri Elders (including Aunty Joan and Aunty Valda, and Uncle Huey) place their hands on the reconciliation mural.