Yalangu [1] : The “True Spirit Of Reconciliation” for Australia’s Indigenous Peoples
 
by
Ashley Obrey, 3L    

The Parliament is today here assembled to deal with this unfinished business of the nation, to remove a great stain from the nation’s soul, and in a true spirit of reconciliation to open a new chapter in the history of this great land, Australia. -Prime Minister Kevin Rudd (Feb. 13, 2008)    

I.  A Community Broken  

Nanna Nungala Fejo’s earliest memories honor her relationship with her family and community in a bush camp outside Tennant Creek, Australia. Born in the 1920s, Fejo recalls the “love and warmth and kinship” of her childhood. [2]  And the dancing. She loved traditional Aboriginal dancing so much that, as a four-year-old, she broke custom instructing the girls to sit and watch, instead insisting on dancing with the male tribal elders. 

But the coming of the white government “welfare men” in 1932 tainted her lively toddler memories and ultimately dismantled the community kinship she warmly remembers. Although Fejo’s family felt prepared for the event—having dug holes for hiding places in the creek bank—the men’s arrival indeed took the community by surprise. For the men did not come alone. [3]  There was a truck. Two white men. An Aboriginal stockman on horse, cracking his whip.   

Fejo and the other children could not hide. They “ran for their mothers, screaming, but they could not get away.” [4]  As the children were “herded and piled onto the back of the truck,” her mother clung to the vehicle as it pulled away. [5]  They were off to the Bungalow in Alice Springs—the Old Telegraph Station and a “scene of misery” between 1932 and 1942 for the several hundred child-residents who were taken from their parents for “protection.” [6]  Children were stolen; families broken. Fejo would never see her mother again.   

A few years later, changed governmental policies required churches to care for the kidnapped Aboriginal children—the Stolen Generation.  The kids were instructed to line up in three lines.  Fejo and her sister stood in a different line than that of her brother and cousin. Then boom, boom, boom: Line one would become Catholics, line two Methodists, and line three Church of England. [7]  She and her sister ended up at a Methodist mission on Goulburn Island. Her “Catholic” brother went to work at a cattle station. Her cousin was sent to a Catholic mission. Her family broken yet again.  

Fejo remained at one of two missions until she was sixteen. After World War II, she was allowed to leave for a prearranged job as a domestic in Darwin.  Only then did she find out that her mother died years earlier, “a broken woman fretting for the children that had literally been ripped away from her.” [8]  

***  

On February 13, 2008, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologized to the tens of thousands of indigenous Australian and Torres Strait children who were taken from their families—sometimes by force—as part of an assimilation policy that only came to an end in the 1970s.  He shared the vivid memories of Nanna Nungala Fejo—to illustrate the significance of the apology to Australia’s indigenous peoples for past and continuing harms. To change the narrative. To de-sanitize the collective memory propagated by former Prime Minister John Howard’s 11-year refusal to apologize for the “misdeeds of past governments.” [9]  

Addressing Parliament, with hundreds of members of the Stolen Generation listening in the gallery, and the thousands gathered in town squares, state capitols, and schools, Rudd recognized and took responsibility for the actual misconduct of the assimilating government, the pain it caused then, and the harms left behind that continue today. [10]  

 

We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country.  For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry. To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry. And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry. [11]

 

Additionally, Rudd called for bipartisan action to improve the lives of Australia’s Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders. This was Prime Minister Rudd’s first official act—“Government business, motion No. 1”—just one day after he was sworn in to his position. [12]  

 

II.  “A Great Stain [on] the Nation’s Soul”  

For sixty years, the Australian government removed tens of thousands of mixed-race Aboriginal children from their families and placed them in dormitories, orphanages, industrial schools, or mission schools under the guise of protection. [13]  Some states viewed the policy as a means to “breed out the color,” as described by Cecil Cook, “Chief Protector of Aborigines” in the Northern Territory in the 1930s. [14]  It was also seen as a part of the “deliberate, calculated policies of the state as reflected in the explicit powers given to them under statute dealing with ‘the problem of the Aboriginal population.’” [15]  In spite of these harsh mandates, Australia's indigenous people did not win citizenship until 1967. [16]  As a result of this assimilation policy—which lasted until the 1970s—“stolen” children lost contact with their families, heritage, and identity.  They received poor education. Lived through harsh conditions. Endured abuse. At age twelve, Mary Farrell-Hooker, now a spokeswoman for an Aboriginal activist group, was raped by her “house father” at a foster center: “He would actually come into the room and force himself onto me, rape me, molest me…If I didn’t do what he wanted, he would threaten to do the same to my sister and (threaten to) split us up.” [17]  

Today, Australia’s indigenous people—almost three percent of the Australian population—endure a social position well below that of its majority counterpart. [18]  The Aborigines’ life expectancy is seventeen years lower than the average Australian’s.  They are thirteen times more likely to be incarcerated, three times more likely to be unemployed, and twice as likely to be victims of actual or threatened violence. [19]  These statistics have worsened steadily since Australia awarded indigenous people citizenship forty or so years ago. [20]  

Former Prime Minister Howard's government [21] —its humble beginnings in the stir of the human rights movement, just three years after the International Year of the World’s Indigenous Peoples [22] —nevertheless refused to apologize for events it was not directly responsible for, fearing the “repercussions” of the apology: whopping compensation claims. [23]  This active ignorance of indigenous rights in Australia became a pattern in Prime Minister Howard’s politics. In 1988, as Deputy Leader of the Opposition era in Australia, Howard—a long-time opponent of indigenous Native Title in Australia—introduced an immigration and ethnic affairs policy called One Australia—visualizing “one nation and one future” and thus fundamentally opposing multiculturalism and Aboriginal land rights. [24]    

In April 1997, after intense inquiry, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission issued a report, Bringing them Home, [25] detailing the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families.  The 700-page report was tabled in Federal Parliament on May 26, 1997. [26]  In 1999, Former Prime Minister John Howard issued a “statement of regret,” but stubbornly refused to offer a formal apology. [27]    

Howard and his government later received criticism for an August 2007 intervention in the Northern Territory—the Northern Territory National Emergency Response— that “curtailed the rights of many indigenous communities,” [28] including quarantining half of the welfare payments to Aborigines to ensure the payments were spent on food, fining them if their children did not attend school, banning alcohol and pornography in the native areas of the Northern Territory, and ultimately “clear[ing] the way for the government to purchase five-year leases on Aboriginal town land.” [29]  Additionally, under the Howard government, Australia opposed the recently-passed UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, [30] which promotes the exclusive rights of Indigenous Peoples and encourages people worldwide to give more respect and consideration to indigenous communities.   

III.  A New Chapter

 

[F]or our nation, the course of action is clear, and therefore, for our people, the course of action is clear: that is, to deal now with what has become one of the darkest chapters in Australia’s history. In doing so, we are doing more than contending with the facts, the evidence and the often rancorous public debate. In doing so, we are also wrestling with our own soul. This is not… a black-armband view of history; it is just the truth: the cold, confronting, uncomfortable truth—facing it, dealing with it, moving on from it. Until we fully confront that truth, there will always be a shadow hanging over us and our future as a fully united and fully reconciled people. It is time to reconcile. It is time to recognise the injustices of the past. It is time to say sorry. It is time to move forward together. [31]  

This new chapter—characterized by Prime Minister Rudd’s rise to power in Australia’s government and immediate apology to its indigenous people—certainly was timely, occurring just months after the Howard government, yet again, actively ignored the needs of native people.  But what does this apology mean for the people for whom it was meant? Does it signal a concrete step toward reconciliation between the Australian government and Aborigines? 

 

A. Recognition and Responsibility  

First, an apology consists of mere words. One can say sorry without really meaning it. Although this is indeed the truth—as evidenced by the United States’ 1993 apology to Native Hawaiians that, fifteen years later, for the most part still has not translated into concrete action—in this case, the apology appears meaningful.  It was not induced domestically.  There was obviously no pressure from Australia’s previous government. And even though international pressure existed—Rudd’s term began just months after the U.N. Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples’ passed—because Rudd put the apology at the top of his agenda (Government business, motion no. 1), such an urgency cannot be interpreted as anything less than meaningful.  

Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, Prime Minister Rudd recognized the inherent limitation of a lone apology: “There is nothing I can say today that will take away the pain… Words alone are not that powerful.” [32]  Viewing an apology as words, words as symbols, and apologies as symbolic of reconciliation, Rudd declared: “[U]nless the great symbolism…is accompanied by an even greater substance, it is little more than a clanging gong.” [33]  There is something to his words. More than words. For “[i]t is not sentiment that makes history; it is our actions that make history.” [34]  In his work on social healing through justice, University of Hawai‘i Law Professor Eric Yamamoto similarly warns of the danger of “incomplete or insincere acknowledgements and ameliorative efforts—how ‘empty apologies’ and words without institutional restructuring and attitudinal changes can mask continuing oppression.” [35]  Thus Rudd’s acknowledgment of “cheap grace” is significant. In this way, his apology recognizes—with sincerity—and takes responsibility for Australia’s wrongdoing and the ways that its transgressions caused current social and psychological harms that weigh down the oppressed community.  

Even with its inherent limitations, the apology nevertheless recognizes Australia’s responsibility to heal the wounds of past injustice, calling the nation to action. Prime Minister Rudd stated that an apology—and ultimately reconciliation—is Australia’s responsibility, because the laws enacted by parliaments made the Stolen Generations possible: “We, the parliaments of the nation, are ultimately responsible.” [36]  He then painted a dream of the future based on determination, possibility, mutual respect and mutual responsibility—“a future where all Australians, whatever their origins, are truly equal partners, with equal opportunities and with an equal stake in shaping the next chapter in the history of this great country, Australia.” [37]  

 

B.  Reconstruction

 

Prime Minister Rudd’s words of apology begin a sort of reconstruction.  A reshaping of national narratives and subsequent transformation of relationships. First, he tells the unsanitized version of Australian history—the truth previous governments failed to tell and hoped the Stolen Generation would forget. Cultural genocide as a means to obtain land and resources.  The racism. The violence. The effects on Indigenous families and communities. The truth. In doing so, he changes the collective memory, [38] returning dignity back to those stolen from their families without the chance to kiss their parents goodbye.

 

This apology also served to restructure the Aborigines’ relationship with other Australians and the government itself. In his speech, Prime Minister Rudd asked the members of parliament and others who would hear his words to imagine if the terrors faced by the Stolen Generation had happened to them.  “Imagine if this had happened to us,” Rudd said.  “Imagine the crippling effect.” [39]  By putting those in power in the shoes of the powerless, Rudd begins to “build[] a bridge,” as he called it, “based on a real respect rather than a thinly veiled contempt” [40] —using empathy to transform the power dynamic and help reshape the Australia/Aborigine relationship.

 

Rudd also moved beyond sentiments, offering substantive action to repair the harms of the old assimilation policy and the continuing effects on those connected to Stolen Generation and on society as a whole. The apology itself, while symbolic, was also concrete, “offered as part of the healing of the nation.” [41]  Thus, Rudd asked the opposition to move beyond partisan politics. Although the government—contrary to the landmark Bringing Them Home report—ruled out establishment of a compensatory fund for the Stolen Generation, [42] Rudd suggested a “war cabinet” on indigenous policy led by himself and the opposition leader, the Liberal Party’s Brendan Nelson. The war cabinet would first develop and implement an effective housing strategy for remote communities, ultimately “closing the gap” dividing the Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. [43]  But is the war cabinet a poison pill for further isolation of the Aboriginal people of Australia? The leaders of the commission are not Indigenous.  The quick reveal of the cabinet failed to mention an intent to consult Indigenous members. Subsequent announcements, however, indicate that the Rudd government will “undertake discussions with indigenous people about the best process to develop a new representative body.” [44]  

 

The Indigenous community is split with regard to the make-up of the commission. Some want a fully-elected body, others, including prominent activist Sam Watson, is willing to compromise. The government, it seems, is leaning towards this compromise of elected and appointed representatives from urban, regional, and remote Indigenous communities. [45]   Although it is too early to tell—as Australia has offered only an apology and subsequent discussions, not detailed legislation—such details must be scrutinized to keep with the words and alleged intentions of this apology.

 

C. A Brief Assessment  

It is indeed uncertain whether Rudd will follow through on these measures. Nevertheless, the mere fact that he delineates a plan shows more action than other “apologies.” Evidence of Rudd’s follow-through is this February 13 apology itself. On December 11, 2007, newly elected Rudd announced that the Federal government would issue an official apology to Indigenous Australians. [46]  The wording of the apology would be decided in consultation with Indigenous leaders. [47]  One day into his term, Rudd fulfilled his promise, bringing tears to the eyes of the Stolen Generations with the words chosen. Hopefully, this action symbolizes what is to come.
 

Members of the community—both domestic and international—commented on the apology and speculate on possible actions yet to come. Kirstie Parker, managing editor of Aboriginal newspaper, The Koori Mail, called the apology “fantastic.”  She said that it was not just the apology that was significant; more important was Rudd’s retelling of the victim’s stories, bringing the reality of the misdeeds to light and publicly confronting those who deny what happened. [48]  Tamara Mackean, the president of the Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association, views the bipartisan approach as the “key to moving things forward.” [49]  

But for some, Rudd’s apology does not go far enough because he ruled out setting up a government fund to compensate victims as part of a larger reparations movement. Prior to the apology, Les Malezer, spokesman for the National Aboriginal Alliance, said that an apology would be a wasted event without compensation. [50]  Nevertheless, Parker said she has “a distinct feeling…that [Aboriginal people] feel that compensation is an absolute possibility, notwithstanding the prime minister’s very vehement statement about not considering it.” [51]  By one account, Rudd “does not appear likely to budge.” [52]  State governments, however, seem more open to the possibility of monetary compensation.  

Additionally, the Rudd government’s willingness to maintain (with few changes) Howard’s 2007 Northern intervention is questionable at best.  The measure—which Rudd supported in his former governmental post—divides Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.  Some welcome the measure, while others call it paternalistic, amounting to nothing more than a land grab. [53]  Other observers note Rudd’s perspective that the apology is a beginning that will enable the government to tackle other issues [54] —especially Indigenous health. But the apology may “lose its shine” if Rudd cannot “also make inroads into key health indicators—such as life expectancy and infant mortality rates.” [55]  

Despite these domestic concerns, United Nations human rights experts showed their approval. The apology, they said, “will strengthen the moral fabric of the country and reinforce the Aboriginal contribution to Australian society.” [56]  The group also praised “Australia’s efforts to acknowledge historical injustices and to promote reconciliation,” calling it “an example of how to enhance harmonious and cooperative relationships between indigenous peoples and States, in the spirit of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.” [57]

 

Thus Australia’s apology represents major strides in reconciliatory efforts with its Indigenous peoples. It not only recognizes and takes responsibility for Australia’s wrongdoings, but Rudd’s honest expression of the apology begins to carve out a path towards reconstructing its relationship with the Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders.  At this point, all anyone can do is speculate on the reparatory action that will follow in the months and years to come. 

 

But a hopeful tone echoes in the ears of those listening and waiting for societal changes that would uplift Indigenous peoples: “If the apology we extend today is accepted in the spirit of reconciliation in which it is offered,” Rudd said, “we can today resolve together that there be a new beginning for Australia.” [58]  

 

IV.  A New Beginning - Implications for Native Hawaiians?  

Although the United States’ initiation of reconciliation with Native Hawaiians came fifteen years before Australia offered an apology to its own Aboriginal people, the words of the U.S. government—its promise—has remained largely unfulfilled. [59]  Through the 1993 Apology Resolution, Congress apologized for its role in the illegal overthrow of the independent Hawaiian Kingdom and formally committed to reconciliation in light of the resulting cultural devastation, taking of land and continuing socio-economic and psychological harms. [60]  Specifically, Congress “express[ed] its commitment…to provide a proper foundation for reconciliation between the United States and the Native Hawaiian people.” [61]  Reparatory Federal legislation has since been enacted, but much has been overshadowed by attempts to undermine Hawaiian efforts to restore a measure of self-determination. [62]    

With Prime Minister Rudd’s explicit recognition of the incompleteness of a mere apology and his seemingly good intentions, perhaps Australia will set an example for the United States’ reconciliation process with Native Hawaiians. As two of the four nations opposing the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the U.S. and Australia have much in common: unfulfilled obligations to their Native peoples.  Perhaps this apology will further rouse and bolster support for Indigenous peoples in the court of international opinion.  Perhaps this renewed sense of justice will exert pressure on leaders of nations to repair the continuing harms of colonization—now, more than ever, an issue of human rights.  In this way, there may be much that the U.S. can learn from Australia’s words and actions taken since the start of 2008.  

And so perhaps this year marks a new beginning—a changing of the tide for Australian Aborigines, Native Hawaiians, and Indigenous peoples everywhere.   

 
[1] Document 0275, Aboriginal Studies Electronic Data Archive, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander Studies (May 1990), available at http://www1.aiatsis.gov.au/ASEDA/docs/0275-Pitta-Pitta-vocab.html.

[2] Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Apology to Australia’s Indigenous Peoples, Parliament of Australia: House of Representatives 3 (Feb. 13, 2008), available at http://www.aph.gov.au/house/Rudd_Speech.pdf.

[3] Rudd, Apology, supra note 2, at 3.

[4] Id.

[5] Id.

[6] The old days at the Old Telegraph Station, ABC Alice Springs (Sept. 6, 2002), available at http://www.abc.net.au/alicesprings/stories/s1502080.htm.

[7] “That is how the complex questions of post-reformation theology were resolved in the Australian outback in the 1930s. It was as crude as that.”  See Rudd, Speech, supra note 2.

[8] See Rudd, Speech, supra note 2, at 3.

[9] See Tim Johnston, Australia apologizes to Aborigines, International Herald Tribune (Sept. 13, 2008), available at http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/02/13/asia/13aborigine.php. See also generally Sharon K. Hom & Eric K.  Yamamoto, Collective Memory, History, and Social Justice, 47 UCLA L. Rev. 1747 (2000) [hereinafter Hom & Yamamoto, Collective Memory].

[10] Australia: “Stolen generations” speak out in Canberra, World Socialist Website (Feb. 14, 2008), available at http://www.wsws.org/articles/2008/feb2008/inte-f14.shtml.

[11] See Rudd, Speech, supra note 2, at 1.

[12] See Johnston, Australia Apologizes, supra note 9.

[13] Prime Minister Rudd estimated that up to 50,000 children were forcibly taken from their families.  This was between 10 and 30 percent of Indigenous children. See Rudd, Speech, supra note 2, at 2.

[14] See Johnston, Australia Apologizes, supra note 9.

[15] See Rudd, Apology, supra note 2, at 2.

[16] Far-Reaching Policy for Aborigines Draw Their Fury, The New York Times (Aug. 24, 2007), available at http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/24/world/asia/24outback.html?ex=1345608000&en=f812218dfd708cf3&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss.

[17] See Australia apologizes to Aborigines, CNN.com (Feb. 12, 2008), available at http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/02/12/australia.aborgines/index.html

[18] Id.

[19] Id.

[20] Id.

[21] This government lasted between March 1996 – December 2007. John Howard, Australia’s Prime Ministers (Mar. 18, 2008), available at http://primeministers.naa.gov.au/meetpm.asp?pmId=25.

[22] Russel Lawrence Barsh, Indigenous Peoples in the 1990s: From Object to Subject of International Law, 7 Harv. Hum. Rts. J. 33 (1994).

[23] The article notes a recent case in South Australia, in which the court awarded Bruce Trevorrow—who was taken from his mother as a baby—525,000 Australian dollars as compensation for the kidnapping, unlawful treatment and false imprisonment.  See Johnston, Australia Apologizes, supra note 9.

[24] See Andrew Markus, Race: John Howard and the Remaking of Australia 85-89 (2001).

[25] Bringing Them Home: Report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families, Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (Apr. 1997), available at http://www.humanrights.gov.au/social_justice/bth_report/report/index.html.

[26] One of the recommendations of the report was to declare a National Sorry Day.  Id. On May 26, 1998, the first National Sorry Day Sorry Day offered the community the opportunity to be involved in activities to acknowledge the impact of the policies of forcible removal on Australia's Indigenous populations. See Sorry Day, Australian Government Culture and Recreation Portal (Feb. 14, 2008), available at http://www.acn.net.au/articles/sorry/.  This was an annual event until 2004.  Id. In 2005, the holiday was renamed the National Day of Healing for All Australians.  Id.

[27] Dr. Mark McKenna, Different Perspectives on Black Armband History, Parliamentary Library, Parliament of Australia (Nov. 10, 1997), available at http://www.aph.gov.au/library/pubs/rp/1997-98/98rp05.htm.

[28] See Johnston, Australia Apologizes, supra note 9.

[29] See Far-Reaching Policy, supra note 16. Specifically, the people of the town of Papunya—set up by the government in the 1950s as a distribution point for the rations distributed to Aboriginal people—describe themselves as “unwilling subjects in a cultural experiment,” with “generations of government housing lying derelict, and plastic bottles and abandoned cars strewn about” and the festering “drug addiction, domestic violence, poor health and lack of education.”  Id. Although this intervention tended toward addressing these ills, the Aboriginal people label the legislation “paternalistic.”  Id.

[30] U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Sept. 13, 2007). 

[31] See Rudd, Apology, supra note 2, at 3.

[32] See id.

[33] Id.

[34] Id.

[35] Eric K. Yamamoto, Interracial Justice: Conflict and Reconciliation in Post-Civil Rights America 171 (1999).

[36] See Rudd, Apology, supra note 2, at 2.

[37] Id.

[38] Hom & Yamamoto, Collective Memory, supra note 9.

[39] See Rudd, Apology, supra note 2, at 3.

[40] See id.

[41] See Australia apologizes to Aborigines, CNN.com, supra note 17.

[42] Steven de Tarczynski, Australia: Apology to Stolen Generations – A Good Start, Galdu Resource Center for the Rights of Indigenous People (Mar. 3, 2008), available at http://www.galdu.org/web/calahus.php?odas=2571&giella1=eng. A compensation fund would mean that the Stolen Generations would be less likely to undertake costly, time-consuming and emotionally draining legal battles. But a precedent has already been set, with Bruce Trevorrow successfully suing authorities last year. Others have also initiated legal action.  Id.


[43] Specifically, the new government intends to target literacy, numeracy, and employment opportunities, closing the 17-year life expectancy gap and reducing infant mortality rates. Paula Kruger, ‘Practical’ Indigenous policy gathering bipartisan support, ABCNews (Feb. 15, 2008), available at http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/02/15/2163361.htm. Rudd also says he wants to have Indigenous four-year-olds in remote communities in preschool within the next five years, as about half the number of Indigenous four-year-olds do not attend preschool.  Id.

[44] See de Tarczynski, Australia: Apology to Stolen Generations, supra note 42 (according to Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin).

[45] Id.

[46] Stephanie Peatling, How to say sorry and heal the wounds, The Sydney Morning Herald (Dec. 12, 2007), available at http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/how-to-say-sorry-and-heal-the-wounds/2007/12/11/1197135463459.html.

[47] Id.

[48] See Johnston, Australia Apologizes, supra note 9.

[49] See Kruger, ‘Practical’ Indigenous policy, supra note 43.

[50] de Tarczynski, Australia: Apology to Stolen Generations, supra note 42.

[51] See Johnston, Australia Apologizes, supra note 9.

[52] de Tarczynski, Australia: Apology to Stolen Generations, supra note 42.

[53] Id.

[54] Another Indigenous concern has to do with remote communities. "What we've seen over the last few years is that when people are bored, when they are undervalued, when they've got no esteem… communities become toxic, things go bad," Wesley Aird, of Gold Coast Native Title Group observes. See Kruger, ‘Practical’ Indigenous policy, supra note 43. He questions politicians’ motivations to assess the viability of remote Indigenous communities and further recognizes the need to “reassess where people live, why they live there and under what social contract they’re existing in places.”  Id.

[55] See de Tarczynski, Australia: Apology to Stolen Generations, supra note 42.

[56] See UN rights experts welcome Australia’s apology to indigenous peoples, UN News Centre (Feb. 18, 2008), available at http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=25657&Cr=Australia&Cr1=.

[57] Id.

[58] See Rudd, Apology, supra note 2, at 3.

[59] Ashley Obrey, Broken Promise? A Brief Update on the U.S. Role in Native Hawaiian Reconciliation Since The 1993 Apology, KA HE‘E E-NEWSLETTER OF THE CENTER FOR EXCELLENCE IN NATIVE HAWAIIAN LAW, Issue 3, Aug. 2007.

[60] U.S. Public Law 103-150, November 23, 1993 (formerly S.J. Res. 19, 103d Cong., 1st sess., 107 Stat. 1510 (1993)).  Hereinafter referred to as the “Apology Resolution.”

[61] See Apology Resolution, supra note 60.

[62] Obrey, Broken Promise?, supra note 59. See also Rice v. Cayetano, 528 U.S. 495 (2000).