I was taken by Jim’s latest post Report of the NSW Aborigines Welfare Board, year ended 30 June 1940, and like Jim I had not intended to do another post just now on Indigenous issues. First, it has to be said that the post is very interesting. Second, I do need to quote Jim’s postscript:
Please do not construe this post as a contribution to the sorry discussion. I have said all along that one needed to look at the variety of the Australian Aboriginal experience.
What the post does do is to present a snapshot of the official position at a point in time, an important point, but still a point. There are issues raised by the Board’s report that interest me and which warrant further investigation. At this point, I would only say that it is a helpful caution about some of the more sweeping universalist views.
I do endorse Jim’s point about the variety and complexity of current and past Aboriginal lives, experiences, and issues. That said, it is quite ironic that I find Jim’s very fair presentation of what that report tells us to be a wonderful example of what the apology is actually about. The cool language of the report is unlikely to explore what those various agencies were actually about, what really happened under their auspices, why they were there in the first place, what had gone before, what the effects of those policies and agencies actually were. Read the rest of this entry »