Today is National Sorry Day in Australia. A day set aside by government to express a national apology for previous policies. Policies that took children away from Aboriginal families, thinking it was better for the children, now known as The Stolen Generation. The aftermath on generations to follow has been complex and, undeniably, tragic.
I am reading Stan Grant’s book ‘Talking to my Country’. Part Aboriginal, he is a respected Australian journalist. His book is as richly eloquent as is his heritage. Yet, I’m uncomfortable as I turn page after page.
When I first came to Australia I was struck by its young history, ignorant of the fact, the First People of this land were here thousands of years ago. I am sorry for my ignorance.
My travel takes me to many parts of Western Australia. It strikes me how difficult it must have been for the pioneers and the hardship they would have endured to settle in a strange land. It is only when I have travelled north, to the Kimberley region, when I have truly appreciated the culture of the Aboriginal people. The land is ancient. It demands respect.
The enormous landscape of the north makes one feel small but not in a belittling way. It speaks to one in volumes. It speaks to one in silence.
It is what you find in the long pauses of those who try and share with you what it was like for their ancestors. The disconnection. The reunification. The despair. The loss of kin.
Some voids are never filled by the word, sorry.