Who: The Stolen Generation refers to the many Aborigines and some Torres Strait Islander who were forcibly removed from their families as children from the late 1800s to the 1970s. The children removed were sent either to institutions or adopted by non-Indigenous families.
Children taken by State and Territory authorities were usually not allowed to have visits from their parents or families. Nearly every Aboriginal family and community was affected by these policies of forcible removal.
What: The reality was that Aboriginal children were being removed in order to be exposed to ‘Anglo values’ and ‘work habits’ with a view to them being employed by colonial settlers, and to stop their parents, families and communities from passing on their culture, language and identity to them. The children who were targeted for removal by the authorities of the time, in almost all cases, had one parent that was 'white' and one that was Aboriginal. The objective behind the removal of these children then was often one of racial assimilation.
The children removed and then placed in institutions or with new foster families so often received a lower standard of education, and sometimes no education at all. Some coped with the trauma of losing their families, and flourished, despite the prevailing sense and knowledge of their loss of and separation from their birth families, communities, land and culture. However, once removed, so many children were encouraged to abandon and deny their own Aboriginal heritage and language in favour of western