National Sorry Day is a significant day for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and particularly for Stolen Generations Survivors and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. National Sorry Day is a day to acknowledge the strength of Stolen Generation survivors and reflect and play a part in the healing process as people and as a nation. Sorry Day asks us to acknowledge the Stolen Generations, and in doing so, reminds us that historical injustice is still an ongoing source of intergenerational trauma for Aboriginal and Torres Islander families, communities, and people.
A National Sorry Day, ‘to be celebrated each year to commemorate the history of forcible removals and its effects’, was first mentioned as one of the 54 recommendations of the Bringing them home report which was tabled in Federal Parliament on 26 May 1997. The report was the result of a two-year National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families, conducted by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (now called the Australian Human Rights Commission).
The first National Sorry Day was held on 26 May 1998, one year after the Bringing them home report was tabled in Parliament. It is now commemorated across Australia, with many thousands of people participating in memorials and commemorative events, in honour of the Stolen Generations. The Healing Foundation is a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation that partners with communities to address the ongoing trauma caused by actions like the forced removal of children from their families.
View information: Reconciliation Australia