The Australian and Canadian governments issue Apologies to Indigenous Peoples in their respective countries. Is the adoption of the UN Declaration next on the agenda? Both countries, along with New Zealand and the United States, voted against adopting the Declaration in the UN General Assembly on September 13, 2007.
AUSTRALIA'S INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
To the Stolen Generations, I say the
following: as Prime Minister of Australia, I am sorry. On behalf of the
Government of Australia, I am sorry. On behalf of the Parliament of
Australia, I am sorry. And I offer you this apology without
OFFICE OF THE
PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA
For more than a century, Indian Residential Schools separated over 150,000 Aboriginal children from their families and communities. In the 1870’s, the federal government, partly in order to meet its obligation to educate Aboriginal children, began to play a role in the development and administration of these schools. Two primary objectives of the Residential Schools system were to remove and isolate children from the influence of their homes, families, traditions and cultures, and to assimilate them into the dominant culture. These objectives were based on the assumption Aboriginal cultures and spiritual beliefs were inferior and unequal. Indeed, some sought, as it was infamously said, "to kill the Indian in the child". Today, we recognize that this policy of assimilation was wrong, has caused great harm, and has no place in our country.
The national apology made to aboriginal survivors of residential schools on June 11, 2008 was an historic day for Inuit, First Nations, Métis, and we would argue for all Canadians. Inuit gathered in Ottawa prior to June 11th and prepared to receive the formal apology from Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The apology was made in the House of Commons, and it represented a historic first when national aboriginal leaders responded to the apology on the floor of the House of Commons. President Mary Simon spoke on behalf of the Inuit of Canada on that day.
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