Native plants honour stolen generation
GUREHLGAM Corporation's Clarence Valley Aboriginal Healing Centre hosted a special celebration to commemorate the eighth anniversary of the historic apology to the stolen generation.
Co-ordinator of the Clarence Valley Aboriginal Healing Centre Janelle Brown said three plaques and potted native plants were a part of the gathering.
"What we've done to honour members of the stolen generation is we have a pot dedicated to them with native plants, and painted by local artists," she said.
"We planted native mint, which symbolises love, healing and protection.
"To honour our warrior men and women, there is native thyme to symbolise courage and strength, and we're honouring our past loved ones with native basil, which symbolises love and eternal life."
Local artist Danielle Gorogo said it was a pleasure to be a part of the celebration by painting one of the pots that accompanied the plaques and native plants.
"I'm very honoured for all of us to be here and acknowledge this day," she said.
Ms Brown said the day was an important chance for the whole community to come together and help continue the healing process.
"It's important to remember that there needs to be more than words," she said.
"Saying sorry to the stolen generation was a start, but there needs to be action.
"There is so much hasn't been done since, and we aren't seeing the changes needed, so I hope this can be the start of some positive change."
The celebrations were a chance for people to make submissions to the NSW parliamentary committee for the inquiry into reparations for the stolen generation.
The inquiry is examining the NSW Government's response to the Bringing Them Home report, as well as potential legislation and policies to make reparations to members of the stolen generations in NSW and their descendants.
Chair of the committee, Greens MP Jan Barham, said the long term damage caused by the stolen generation is an issue that needs to be addressed.
"Studies have shown that the trauma from a traumatic event such as the stolen generation can be passed on from generation to generation," she said.
"This is why it's important to hold this inquiry and to find ways that we can repair some of the damage done.
Bulgarr Ngaru Medical Aboriginal Corporation chairperson Herbert Duroux said there needs to be more done to help support important indigenous services.
"The legal centre and the medical centre are both losing money, they've all had cut backs," he said.
"There is a lot of talk, but I don't seem to be seeing anything happening."
Mr Duroux said proper treatment of mental illness should be given a priority over building new jails to help reduce prison inmate numbers.