|February 13th, 2008 is a significant date in Australian history. On this day, the then Prime Minister, Mr Kevin Rudd, presented the National Apology to the Stolen Generations and their families. The staff of LESNW office recently attended the Apology Breakfast honouring the survivors on the 10th Anniversary of the Apology. It was a time to reflect on the significance of the Apology, to reflect on stories of those who were stolen and to look to what the future holds in the continued Journey of Healing.
June Oscar AO, Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, presented her speech on ‘How an Apology begins a Journey of Truth-telling and the securing of our Human Rights’. We were challenged to reflect on the truth of those affected by the Stolen Generation policies and to acknowledge the great resilience of the Stolen Generations. June stated the commitment of the Social Justice team to listen to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls, to understand their strengths and their aspirations for change as they continue to move forward.
The LESNW team then visited Pirltawardli and the Lutheran Archives, to understand the work of the Dresden missionaries as they, alongside Kaurna elders, taught Kaurna children, the Aboriginal children of the Adelaide plains. The work undertaken at Pirltawardli gained significance through the written records of the missionaries as they committed to enable learning in the ‘heart language’, the language of Kaurna people. These written records have led to the reclaiming, learning and use of the Kaurna language today.
Understanding this amazing heritage of Lutheran education and the significant partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the past helps us to honour the legacies of those partnerships and to grow our understanding of the many opportunities presented to Lutheran education for a future bound in respect, justice, love and reconciliation.