Coota Girls Aboriginal Corporation will host a major Stolen Generations Community Gathering to commemorate National Sorry Day.
National Sorry Day (26th May) is a day of great significance to Coota Girls Survivors, their families and descendants, and the broader Stolen Generations community.
Each year, National Sorry Day commemorates and acknowledges the atrocities faced by First Nations children who were forcibly removed from their families and communities, and the continuing impact of forcible removal and assimilation policies on Stolen Generations Survivors, their families and whole communities.
CEO, Alicia Bairle, said, “Over 20 Coota Girls Survivors, former residents of the Cootamundra Domestic Training Home for Aboriginal Girls will travel from all over New South Wales and interstate to attend this significant healing event.
“This will be the largest gathering of Coota Girls Survivors in over 10 years,” she said.
“It is critical that we continue to commemorate the horrifying legacy of the forcible removal of First Nations children, and to show strong public support for the implementation of recommendations made in the Bringing them Home report.”
Coota Girls Aboriginal Corporation is partnering with a wide range of First Nations organisations to provide cultural immersion experiences including dance, live music, art, weaving, eco-dying, plant knowledge, traditional games and more.
The Coota Girls Survivors, descendants and broader public will be entertained by NSW South Coast choir Djinama Yilaga, some members of which are themselves descended from Coota Girls Survivors.
Reconciliation Australia Chief Executive Officer, Karen Mundine will introduce the choir as part of the National Reconciliation Week Be a Voice for Generations choir event which will see more than 500 choirs across Australia perform the iconic song From Little Things Big Things Grow.
She said it was a privilege to be part of the Coota Girls commemoration as the first event she attends in National Reconciliation Week (NRW)
“Every Aboriginal person in NSW has heard the horror stories of the Cootamundra Domestic Training Home for Aboriginal Girls (1912-1969) or is related to a Survivor of that place, and so it is very special that at the start of NRW I am here,” she said.
“This week is a time for Australians to learn about our shared histories, including the stories Coota Girls Survivors and all the other members of the Stolen Generations. NRW brings us together to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia and make sure that First Nations children are no longer forcibly removed from family and community.”
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Artwork by Sarah Levett Art