Reconciliation    BISHOP SAYS THE GOVT MISSING THE POINT OVER STOLEN GENERATIONS
Bishop Chris Saunders of Broome says the Federal Government is missing the point in asserting that the Stolen Generations did not exist because only ten per cent of children were forcibly removed.
   Bishop Saunders says he has seen first hand the trauma resulting from the forced separation of Aboriginal children from their families.
   He says it is not the numbers that count, but the impact the policy has had on Aboriginal people.
   "What we ought to be dealing with is the real feelings of real people and we still have not dealt with that, even though the issue is out there now after the royal commission," he said.
   "But the nation itself has not dealt with the issues and hiding it or tidying it up in some means of mathematical sanitation I do not think that helps," Bishop Saunders said.
   An Aborginal woman in the Kimberley who was removed from her family says debate over the Stolen Generations is distracting attention from the real issues.
   Cynthia Edwards spent 14 years at the Beagle Bay Mission, north of Broome, and was a coordinator of Stolen Generations working groups in the Kimberley. Her grandmother was sent to the same institution by force while she and her mother were sent there voluntarily.
   She says millions of dollars are being spent arguing over the Stolen Generations, while poor health, alcoholism and sexual abuse are chronic problems in local communities.
   "The government spends so much money on us Aborginal people I believe and I believe it has not been distributed the right way to the grassroots people," she said.
   "That is where the problem"s coming from, it is because the money is not getting through to the grassroots people. The grassroots people are not being heard, they are not being listened to," Ms Edwards said.
   
ABC
4/4/00

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