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Stolen children return for 'healing ceremony'

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 5 June 2004


Aboriginal families whose children were forcibly taken from them in the 1940s will return to the site of the former Phillip Creek Mission in the Northern Territory for a healing ceremony today.

In 1946, 16 part-Aboriginal children were removed from their families at the mission, 49 kilometres from Tennant Creek, and taken to Darwin.

At least eight of those children will return to Phillip Creek today with their extended families.

Psychologist Helen Kane has worked with the group on the project and says one mother is still living in the Barkly region.

Ms Kane says the woman was reunited with her daughter in the 1980s and is very excited about today's ceremony.

She says the ceremony is a move to put "sorry business" behind them.

"The elders have said they'll be doing a dance that is the mother's dance and they haven't done that since the children were taken," he said.

"It's a very old dance, it's a very old story and they will do it for the last time, for the first and last time since the children were taken.

"So it's a very special time for them."

She says the healing ceremony will spark happy and sad emotions and the step is an example for people all around Australia.

"A group haven't expressed this statement before, that they want to move on, they want to heal," she said.

"They don't want to stay locked in the past and they want to put that behind them.

"It's a very powerful statement for the nation and I'm really excited that it's happening here and I'm excited for the group."


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