Ongoing pain

A reader responds to a Family Forum column from August: Trauma felt across generations


In the land of the first Stolen Generations in South Australia, the Kaurna Nation, your column “Trauma felt across generations” (The Advertiser, 2/8/14) commits a thoughtless transgression.

It is abominable that your response does not even casually refer to the massive ongoing intergenerational trauma experienced by Kaurna people today.

You have treated them in their own country as not counting, not important enough to give simple human recognition and respect.

History reveals the openly intended and a deliberate ethnically based plan to take Kaurna youth away. It has been in effect a lebensraum (translated: living space) policy that effected a comparable holocaust on the original inhabitants and their descendants, yet it is inexcusably ignored by your eruditions in your distancing response.

A national Beyond Blue anti-discrimination campaign called “Stop. Think. Respect.” is directly applicable to the plight of the Kaurna Nation living in the City of Adelaide.

That campaign requires even your published column to avoid all forms of subtle or casual racism to Aboriginal peoples, which can be just as harmful as more overt forms. (See for more information.)


The Family Forum letter to which you refer asked if it was possible for a person to feel traumatised by events in a previous generation and mentioned the Holocaust. Our response referred to studies of the children of Holocaust survivors and war veterans.

Your full letter shows your very strong concern for our Aboriginal people. Rest assured Family Forum agrees it is important to acknowledge that colonisation and policies of state and federal institutions resulted in suffering for the Kaurna people and other Aboriginal people throughout this state, and the experience of trauma has had an impact on subsequent and current generations.

Family Forum encourages every South Australian to learn about Aboriginal history and culture and to increase their understanding of the less well known history of this state. It is very encouraging the new national curriculum specifies Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures as one of the three cross-curriculum priorities.

Readers are encouraged to listen to the podcast of the King’s seal on

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