1. Subject and historical

Stolen is a contemporary Australian drama. It "tells of five young Aboriginal children forcibly removed from their parents, brought up in a repressive children´s home and trained for domestic service and other menial jobs.Segregated from society in their earliest years, not all of them successfully manage their lives when released into the outside world. The pain and sheer desperation of their lives is seen through the children´s own eyes as they struggle to make sense of a world where they have been told to forget their families, forget their homes and forget their language. This tender and moving story is a superb contribution towards reconciliation." (from the back cover)

The early white Australians´ assumption that according to Darwin´s theory of "The Survival of the Fittest", the Aborigines were a dying race turned out to be wrong, for it became obvious that the Aboriginal race was far from dying out but was being supplanted by a half-caste population instead. This led to assimilation becoming official government policy. In order to "absorb" and "assimilate" Aboriginal children and thus dilute their aboriginality thousands of children were forcibly removed (stolen) from their families by the government and placed in missions or welfare institutions. Others were adopted by white foster parents who often did not know that the children they adopted were "stolen" Aboriginal children. Welfare law authorized the white authorities to take automatically away any child from its Aboriginal parents that was found "neglected", "destitute" or "uncontrollable" while white middle class standards were applied.

Children were hunted, grabbed at random and taken away on trucks or later they were sent on holiday with white families but never returned and their families had no chance to find them. These practices, which lasted until the 1960s, had a disastrous effect not only on the children but also on their Aboriginal families. As a consequence a lot of these children suffered serious psychological damage, for those who lived in prison-like institutions never experienced love or affection but a ruthless discipline, physical, psychological and sexual abuse instead. The results were disastrous, for these children not only lost their links to their past, but also suffered chronic depression, were traumatized or became alcoholics. A lot of them ended up in prison or committed suicide.


  Short Stories Model Interpretations  

Jane Harrison , Stolen


Things began to change in the 1960s when the civil rights movement in the USA argued for equality for the US Indians and Afro-Americans. With the referendum of 1967 the Aborigines became Australian citizens with equal rights to vote. In the late 1980s revelations about the fate of Australia´s indigenous population led to vast agitations about this scandal in the history of Australia.

In 1995, a National enquiry into the "Stolen Generations" began. Two years later the final report of this "Federal Government Human Rights and Equality Commission", which was entitled "Bringing them Home", gave proof of the harmful social, physical, and psychological effects that the official policy of "assimilation" had had on Aboriginal children and their families.



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