Slavery in Australia
Due to Covid-19 the 2021 ACRATH National Conference is being held online. Sessions are being spread over three weeks.
Was there Slavery in Australia? First People’s Experience was the topic for this first session of the conference held on Wednesday 3rd March. Sherry Balcombe (Aboriginal Catholic Ministry, ACM, Vic) and John Lochowiak (National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council, NATSICC) spoke to the group sharing from the experience of their ancestors and the impact of those experiences on current generations. They spoke of their ancestors receiving no wages, being forcibly removed from families and having no choice about their work – were they servants or slaves?
After their presentations, participants were assigned to breakout rooms. Most groups reported back that it had been confronting to hear of the oppression and lack of respect for Indigenous Australians extending even into our lifetime. It is a story that needs to be told so that it will never be repeated and current generations can experience healing and hope.
Conference participants felt ACRATH has been called to action. How can we respond personally and as an organisation?