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To wonder why Australia's 'stolen generation' isn't taught in schools or well known?

(148 Posts)
workingdilemma Sat 08-Aug-15 19:14:26

I was in oz a decade or so ago, and learny of the stolen generation. Aboriginal children who were taken out of their families, put with white families and ein an effort to remove their culture. A lot of people also say part of this was a more shocking plan to eventually 'breed out' the aboriginal people.

This 'strategy' continued at least in part till the 1970s - so shockingly recently.

In australia they have in recent years attempted to attone in some manner by apologising to the aboriginal people, but i find it incredible that over here or elsewhere, very few people know about this.

I was interested to read the ww2 thread just now and it made me wonder again about why this isn't discussed and taught in schools.

Aibu to think this episode of history should be discussed more globally as a historical mistake (and more)?

workingdilemma Sat 08-Aug-15 19:15:18

Sorry for the typos as I'm on my phone.

EastMidsMummy Sat 08-Aug-15 19:19:48

Not covered I guess because there are a million terrible, awful things that people have done to other people and compared to something like slavery or WWII, it doesn't have the same global significance.

sisterofmercy Sat 08-Aug-15 19:20:48

Well I think it should be discussed in Australian schools. UK schools have a fairly restricted curriculum and can't pack in every horror from every country because there is just too much - so it might not be on the menu here.

However, I have heard of the stolen generation. If you are interested in global history/current affairs you will hear about it sooner or later.

partialderivative Sat 08-Aug-15 19:23:02

It is shocking.

However, whenever a question like this comes up you have to be able to suggest what needs to be removed from the curriculum in order to let this in.

I'm not a history teacher, but I imagine there are hundreds, if not thousands of stories that could justifiably be included.

Choosing a few will never satisfy everyone, but there is not that much time in the school calender

skinnysoyvanillalatte Sat 08-Aug-15 19:24:27

It is part of the curriculum in Australian schools.
Aussie kids do a good component of Aussie history in school, just as British kids do a good component of British history.

workingdilemma Sat 08-Aug-15 19:25:40

I guess the major thing i find interesting about the lack of coverage relates to how recent it was - down to the 'sorry' book the Rudd government had created.

You're right - schools have a vast array of things to cover, but I've never heard it talked about once on any current affairs program or documentary broadcast here - i appreciate there may have been many though.

MrsTerryPratchett Sat 08-Aug-15 19:26:15

In countries with indigenous populations who are still discriminated against, it's relevant to teach that history. As a wider discussion of colonialism, the treatment of indigenous peoples is relevant.

Here in Canada we have the residential schools tragedy, now taught in all schools and I would say pretty much all Canadians know about it. Never heard of it until I moved here. Do you suggest UK schools teach that, the Highland clearances, the potato famine, the American Indian wars, the Maoris, the... There are VAST histories of abused indigenous peoples. Why that one in particular?

MrsTerryPratchett Sat 08-Aug-15 19:27:28

The last residential school in Canada closed in 1996. Now THAT'S recent.

workingdilemma Sat 08-Aug-15 19:28:49

Sorry - a poorly phrased op biased towards school level education. I should have perhaps asked if it should be discussed more in general.

LBOCS Sat 08-Aug-15 19:31:23

I went to Cambodia in my early twenties and saw the killing fields, learned about the Khmer Rouge and their mass genocide. An entire section of world history that I had no idea about which happened well within my parents' lifetimes. There just isn't enough time to include all of these things in the curriculum.

workingdilemma Sat 08-Aug-15 19:35:41

Thank you for telling me about the canadian residential schools MrsTP - i had no idea - absolutely shocking.

Yes, there we go - IABU re schools - there is so many things to cover.

Btw i knew about the khmer rouge though because i watched the killing fields as a 10 year old lbocs - awful.

EastMidsMummy Sat 08-Aug-15 19:37:46

Many people will have learned about the stolen generation through the film Rabbit-Proof Fence.

MrsTerryPratchett Sat 08-Aug-15 19:37:46

I actually do think there's a pace for self-directed study more in history than other subjects. I was obsessed with American interventionism when I was a teenager. Wasn't taught. All that pain and suffering in Vietnam, Laos, Panama, Nicaragua, El Salvador and on and on. I 'hated' history. Because most of it bored the shite out of me. Had there been more space to study what interested us, I would have loved history.

After I left school, I started to learn about all the history that interested me. American stuff, suffragettes and female history, now First Nations history.

MrsTerryPratchett Sat 08-Aug-15 19:38:45


sisterofmercy Sat 08-Aug-15 19:40:43

Yes, I quite enjoyed the stuff they taught in school but it was only after I left that I got fascinated.

MrsTerryPratchett Sat 08-Aug-15 19:41:07

Since we're already agreed that YABU with the initial question, grin how about we talk about events in history that you found out about later and were very interesting?

You know, OP, your thread and all... smile

Degustibusnonestdisputandem Sat 08-Aug-15 19:44:20

I went to a little country school in Australia in the 80s and we were taught next to nothing about aboriginal people. Thankfully my parents were/are very enlightened, and I went on to study quite a bit of aboriginal history at uni. I'm not sure what kids are taught these days, but the whole situation is beyond appalling, not helped one bit by the current bunch of dim witted right wing idiots in charge.

workingdilemma Sat 08-Aug-15 19:47:19

Oh i dunno.

* Greek entry to the euro and goldman sachs part in it. Well worth a read relevant to current affairs.

* hsbc & mexican drug cartels.

I fully agree that history is better as a self taught subject. Schools generally seem to fail on that imho. All we were taught at gcse level was jfk and american indians and how to pass an exam on them :-)

skinnysoyvanillalatte Sat 08-Aug-15 19:48:12

I went to school in the 70's in Australia and we did lots of what was then called "aboriginal" history. We also did "the Fringe Dweller"novel in grade 8.

ShadowStar Sat 08-Aug-15 19:48:53

I learnt about this in a film - possibly the Rabbit Proof Fence one mentioned above?

I didn't learn about this in school - the history I was taught in school focused mainly on British history. (We were taught about the Highland Clearances and the Irish Potato Famine). There's just not room to discuss everything in the curriculum.

MrsTerryPratchett Sat 08-Aug-15 19:52:16

Oooo, I didn't know about Greece.

What about the secret war in Laos... Not so secret to the poor Laotians.

marshmallowpies Sat 08-Aug-15 19:53:52

I do find it odd/interesting that the British history I studied at school tended not to include anything much that showed Britain in a bad light - I'd include colonial history and the treatment of indigenous peoples in that.

Whether the British history curriculum has room to cover Australia and Canada in detail is another question , perhaps not, but children should certainly be aware of it. I never even covered the Highland Clearances or anything about Ireland in history and I find that quite embarrassing.

And I did an English degree at university, and guess what, not knowing anything about Indian or Australian history or Ireland left me a bit all at sea when having to study post-colonial and Irish literature, which was all part of my degree (Yeats, Salman Rushdie, VS Naipaul etc). Knowing a bit more about it would really have helped!

NickiFury Sat 08-Aug-15 19:54:26

They did this with the Inuits as well, sent children off to Denmark to be brought up Danish within Danish families for a "social experiment". Don't hear much about them either, usual white wash of unsavoury history.

DodgedAnAsbo Sat 08-Aug-15 20:28:02

The stolen generations has been shown to be a myth. please stop perpetuating such divisive nonsense.
The schools are not teaching stuff like this and rightly so. IMHO they should be teaching critical thinking skills, so people don't fall for all these fads

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