The Stolen Generations

Forced removal

Throughout the 1900s, Australian Federal and State government agencies practiced the forced removal of indigenous children from their families, as part of the policy of Assimilation. According to official government estimates, in certain areas, one in three Indigenous children were removed from their communities between 1910 and 1970.

The Stolen Generations were largely comprised of children of mixed ethnicity – the offspring of Aboriginal natives and white colonists. The government focused on children as part of the Assimilation policy because they were considered more adaptable and easier to integrate into the white society due to their lighter skin colour.

Official documents from that period indicate that the removal of children of mixed ethnicity from their Aboriginal families was related to the idea that the Aboriginal population would soon be extinct, especially since the majority of them died because of disease outbreak and violent clashes with white settlers. It was, therefore, proposed that children of mixed ethnicity could be trained to adapt and be assimilated into white society.

However, the practice of removing the children appears to have been a response to growing concerns that the non-indigenous population would be outnumbered by mixed-descent Aborigines. In the Northern Territory of Australia, the government began to forcibly take children from their communities in an attempt t...

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