By Rachael Hakim
The opening of Reconciliation Plaza and the unveiling of a plaque honoring social justice advocate Alice Dixon, marked National Sorry Day at Tarntanyangga/Victoria Square on 26 May this year.
A large number of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people gathered in the historical meeting place for Stolen Generation Coming Home stories, live music and entertainment.
Feeling proud to be Aboriginal has taken CEO of The Australian Institute for Loss and Grief, Rosemary Wanganeen, 27 years to achieve and her story is just one of many.
‘I’m part of the Stolen Generation and I went through a major healing process that helped me reclaim my pride after a teacher told me that Aboriginal people were savages. So, that experience shattered the little bit of pride that I had, and it became shame,’ says Ms Wanganeen.
‘Coming here today and being a part of this just fills my heart with pride because this kind of event just wasn’t around 20 years ago.’
Ms Wanganeen has developed a ‘Seven Phases to Integrating Loss and Grief’ model to support the social, emotional and health issues that many Aboriginal people face.
She believes it is the ‘missing link to fully comprehending why many Aboriginal people can’t, don’t or won’t access their local mainstream services.’
National Sorry Day occurs every year on 26 May to remember the injustices experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.