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Apology remembered

More than 100 people from all walks of life gathered at Queen’s Gardens yesterday morning heard Australia was on a journey towards reconciliation at a ceremony to mark the fifth anniversary of the apology to the Stolen Generations.

FIONA BROOM February 14, 2013 4:40am

Nine-year-old Callum Boland smiles in front of the Aboriginal flag.


Shepparton’s youth are the future of reconciliation in Australia, students were told at a service celebrating the fifth anniversary of the apology to the Stolen Generations.

More than 100 people from all walks of life gathered at Queen’s Gardens yesterday morning heard Australia was on a journey towards reconciliation, but it had not yet reached its destination.

Aborigines Advancement League chief executive Esme Bamblett told the crowd Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and values needed to become embedded in school curriculum because ‘‘it is the culture of this land and the very essence of Australia’’.

Mooroopna Secondary College Year 12 student Bruce Oakley told The News he agreed students should learn more about Indigenous culture, because it was the oldest living culture in the world.

He said young people needed to be more involved with reconciliation to continue work that had already been done.

Fellow student Nathan Booth said it was important to take time to recognise the apology and look at what more could be done for reconciliation.

He said Indigenous cultures needed to be recognised in the constitution.

Leon Saunders from the Shepparton Region Reconciliation Group said as the baton of leadership would be passed to the region’s youth, it was great to see students from five local high schools committed to reconciliation.

The apology was celebrated, but Dr Bamblett said it was just one step on the path to reconciliation.

The Australian Constitution needs to be amended to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the traditional owners of Australia, Dr Bamblett said.

Just a few hours later the Australian House of Representatives unanimously passed the Act of Recognition of Indigenous people, which contains a two-year sunset clause, that is intended to pave the way for constitutional change while giving time to build community support.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the Act was only able to be passed because the apology came first.

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