Apology anniversary bittersweet

THE Border’s Aboriginal community celebrated the second anniversary of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s apology to the stolen generation with a special screening of Bran Nue Dae.

The comedic musical celebrating Aboriginal culture attracted 350 people to the Regent Cinemas on Saturday, including Albury’s Rita Wenberg who is among the stolen generation.

For Ms Wenberg, who was taken when she was three and put in a girls’ home at Cootamundra, the apology in 2008 was bittersweet.

“When I was taken we were never told about mothers or fathers, so we didn’t know what they were,” she said.

“I was brought up as a European child and our indigenous identity was hidden from us.”

While Ms Wenberg accepted the Government’s apology she believed more should have been done.

“The apology was nice to hear but it is not enough for the suffering we went through,” she said.

“After 60 years my sister and I met our family but we didn’t ever really fit in and it was hard for us.”

Ms Wenberg believes the stolen generation should receive compensation for their “emotional suffering”.

The Mungabareena Aboriginal Association in Wodonga worked with the Albury-Wodonga Aboriginal Health Service to co-ordinate the screening of the movie.

Bringing them home counsellor at Albury-Wodonga Aboriginal Health Service, Joanne Taylor, said the organisations wanted to do something different to celebrate the second anniversary.

“The movie celebrates Aboriginal culture and is based on a true story,” she said.

Miss Taylor said the anniversary was important, especially for those removed from their homes.

“We have had many people from the stolen generation here today and their issues are still ongoing and the apology is just the first step,” she said.

“We need to keep fighting and be on (the Government’s) agenda every year.”

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