Melbourne, Australia: SNAICC acknowledges the impact that colonisation continues to have on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children today. Increasing understanding of the lasting impacts of colonisation amongst all Australians is key to our reconciliation as a nation.
If we, as a nation, are to recognise 26 January as the day that the colonisation of Australia began, then I think it is our responsibility to also recognise the lasting impacts that that colonisation has had.
“The compounding nature of intergenerational trauma continues to see successive generations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children impacted by the costs of colonisation. We need to be talking about where that fits into the celebrations we see taking place across the country.”
– Sharron Williams, SNAICC Chairperson
Access to quality early years education is proven to have the greatest impact on a child’s lifelong education and employment outcomes, however, due to many barriers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are only half as likely to access early education as non-Indigenous children.
Nationally, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are 9.8 times more likely to be living in out-of-home care than non-Indigenous children.
The atrocities that followed that date – massacres, dispossession, fracturing of cultural knowledge – continue to have a profound impact today, including continued disempowerment and disadvantage of our children and families.
“Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people recognise 26 January as a day of mourning, shared with community, and that is as much about the present and future as it is about the past.
“Our goal must be reconciliation, and that cannot be achieved if we do not acknowledge the true history of our country, and furthermore the reluctance to face that truth. We will not see outcomes improve until we witness that change of attitude on a greater scale.
“It’s impossible to heal when we’re still feeling the pain every day.”
– Sharron Williams