Exhibition a testament to hope
June 18, 2013
Supporting the potential of northern Australia
June 26, 2013

Supporting the importance of attachment and cultural links

pamela-nathan-513x640by Pamela Nathan

RE: ‘Nation risks a new stolen generation, leaders warn’, by Vince Chadwick, published in The Age Saturday 15 June 2013

This article reports that indigenous leaders say Australia risks producing another stolen generation if it does not reduce the soaring rates of ATSI children in and out of care. The article reports Muriel Bamblett, CEO of Victorian Aboriginal Child Care agency, saying “early intervention measures to help Aboriginal families were insufficient and more work was needed to unify children with their parents”. Recently I visited Hermannsburg and a meeting was held with the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress and Hermannsburg leaders.

Some Aboriginal women sitting in the corner began to speak about a child FACSIA had taken and how they had returned the child to the mother who wanted the child. Stolen generation! They were angry. Another woman said she had looked after so many children herself.  They said the children were “hurting” if they are not with their mothers and how they want to be with them”.  “The woman,” she said, “acknowledged the drinking and the drugs but also the humanity of her people; the mother wanted to be with her son and the son wanted to be with his mother”. The woman looked at me beseechingly. My daughter nearly cried. I found my voice.

In my visit to Cape York in January and with the Family Responsibility Commission (FRC) it was illuminating and inspiring to see how the Aboriginal Commissioners, endowed with legal powers, sought to help and support the parents and families to keep their children and how they gate-kept the non-Aboriginal service providers and how they sought interventions to be implemented by these service providers and the Aboriginal communities.

As a psychoanalytic psychotherapist I support the importance of attachment and cultural links and think that Aboriginal people should be supported to keep their children at home to stop the “hurt” and the emerging stolen generation in 2013.