National Sorry Day
On the 26th of May 1997 the landmark Bringing them Home report was tabled in federal parliament. Bringing them Home is the final report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families and was conducted by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (now called the Australian Human Rights Commission) between 1995 and 1997.
The National Inquiry was called by the Attorney General in 1995. Over two years, it took oral and written testimony from over five hundred Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across Australia, as well as from Indigenous organisations, foster parents, state and territory government representatives, church representatives, other non-government agencies, former mission and government employees and individual members of the community. The calling of the National Inquiry, and the release of the Bringing them Home report, raised the awareness of the Australian public of the historical policies of forced removal, as well as the ongoing impacts.
On 26 May 1998, the first National Sorry Day was held to commemorate the anniversary of the report and remember the grief, suffering and injustice experienced by the stolen generations.
While the Bringing them Home report was published over twenty years ago, it remains a significant document. Many of the report's recommendations are yet to be implemented, members of the Stolen Generations and their families continue to be affected by the trauma caused by forced removal and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are still removed from their families at a very high rate.
On the 26 May 2017 the First Nations National Constitutional Convention released the Uluru Statement from the Heart calling for “constitutional change and structural reform” to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and ensure they are rights-holders within their country.