New cultural displays to be unveiled at Apology Day

Published: 14 Feb 2017 8:58am

A community ceremony, barbeque and unveiling of new cultural displays at the Marrambidya Wetland Healing Place will mark the 9th anniversary of the Apology to the Stolen Generations.

The latest cultural additions to the Healing Place are Gunyahs (Ganyas) which are traditional Wiradjuri huts and a new scar tree created by the removal of a Coolamon (Gulaman) by local Wiradjuri man Peter Ingram.

Aboriginal Youth and Community Development Officer Sam Kirby says Apology Day marks an important step by our governments to acknowledge the policies that led to the Stolen Generation and the ongoing pain these policies have caused.

“The Apology is a significant and historic moment for all Australians and particularly for the many people, including those in the Riverina, who had been personally affected by the policies that resulted in the Stolen Generation,” he said.

“Coming together as a community on the anniversary each year offers everyone an opportunity for reflection and healing.”

The 2017 National Apology Day ceremony, to be held on Monday 13 February, will feature the City of Wagga Wagga’s General Manager Alan Eldridge as emcee as well as a Welcome to Country and speeches by Aunty Cheryl Penrith, Aunty Faye Moseley, Uncle Greg Packer and the Mayor of the City of Wagga Wagga Greg Conkey OAM.

Everyone is welcome to attend the ceremony, which will be followed by a community barbeque lunch hosted by Apology Day partners Wellways Wagga Wagga.

The Federal Government Apology was delivered by the then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and also represented the completion of one of the five key measures of reparation recommended in the 1997 Bringing Them Home Report, with 2017 being the 20th anniversary of the report.

The Healing Place has been constructed in consultation with the local Wiradjuri community and features native plants, a seating area and totem pole with hand carvings, representing a long journey and featuring a goanna – the Wiradjuri totem.

The totem pole was created by Wiradjuri Elders and has been donated to the site by the artists and TAFE NSW Riverina Institute.

Media opportunity- 2017 National Apology Day

What: Ceremony to mark the 9th anniversary of the Apology to the Stolen Generations
Where: Marrambidya Wetland, Narrung Street
When: Monday 13 February 2017, ceremony begins at 10.30am