National reconciliation events began today with a traditional Aboriginal ceremony at the Australian Parliament, and will end tomorrow with official apologies by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to generations of Aborigines who saw the government steal their children.
Members of the Aboriginal community opened this morning's parliamentary session with dances to the rhythm of the didgeridoo, and a representative of the Ngambri people, Matilda House-Williams, gave the Prime Minister the "message stick", a traditional object that, according to House-Williams, "has been used by the Aborigenes to explain the history of our people for thousands of years".
The 'stolen generation'
The truly historic event will take place tomorrow, when Rudd will officially apologize for the policies of assimilation pursued by Australian governments from the beginning of the 20th century until the 1970s. During this period, it was common for sons of native families to be taken from their homes and given to white Australian or European families.