No celebration for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, SNAICC says
January 26 is a day “to recognise the strength and resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people”, but there can be no celebration when “our children still face the devastating impacts of colonisation” the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC) have said.
To celebrate the “many great things about our nation” Australia should choose “a new date that is inclusive of all Australians and ensures we can all participate in celebrations together, a SNAICC spokesperson said, adding that “for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 26 January and the colonisation of Australia is a reflection of the ongoing discrimination and violation of human rights that many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children face today.”
SNAICC Chairperson Muriel Bamblett said that, despite the recommendations from the Bringing them Home report being 20 years old, many remain unimplemented, to the detriment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
“Our children are the most important thing, and the lack of action means that too many continue to have contact with out-of-home care, and juvenile justice, and criminal justice.” Ms Bamblett said.
Citing the value of early learning, SNAICC said that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are “only half as likely as other children to access early years education, missing out on learning at the very start of their lives.”
“We have families who have experienced poverty, homelessness, family violence, forced removal for generations upon generations. That intergenerational trauma has a profound impact on our children.” Ms Bamblett said.
She added that involving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in finding solutions and engaging in the change process to address the “devastating realities” faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children is the only way forward.
SNAICC has used the occasion of January 26 to continue their call for action to address issues through clear national targets and cross -governmental strategies through a refresh of the Closing the Gap strategy, and the launch of the Fourth Action Plan under the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children.