National Sorry Day and Reconciliation Week

National Sorry Day and Reconciliation Week 

Every year on 26 May, National Sorry Day is held to remember and acknowledge the mistreatment of First Nations people who were forcibly removed from their families and communities, which we now know as ‘The Stolen Generations’.

The first National Sorry Day was held on 26 May 1998, one year after the “Bringing Them Home” report was tabled in Parliament. The Report is a result of a Government Inquiry into past policies which caused children to be removed from their families and communities.

National Sorry Day is a day to acknowledge the strength of Stolen Generations Survivors and reflect on how we can all play a part in the healing process for our people and nation. While this date carries great significance for the Stolen Generations and other First Nations people, it is also commemorated by other Australians right around the country.

Balaangala Community group has been commemorating Sorry Day annually since 2009. This year attendees were privileged to listen to members of Uncle Joe Skeen’s family, Jody Skeen, Jess Skeen and Tiarna Stehr who shared their experience of the on-going impact that the forcible removal of children has had on their family and thousands of families across the nation.


Getano and Andonia Bann sang a very moving rendition of their song, “Bring Them Home”.

Balaangala members feel it is more important than ever to provide opportunities for truth-telling, given the misinformation and lies that were told about First Nations people during and after the Voice referendum process.

We cannot begin to fix the problems of the present without accepting the truth of our history. Sorry Day asks us to acknowledge the Stolen Generations, and in doing so, reminds us that historical injustice is still an ongoing source of intergenerational trauma for Aboriginal and Torres Islander families, communities, and peoples.

To learn more about Balaangala visit:

For more about National Sorry Day and Reconciliation Week (27 May to 3 June) visit:

Author: Michelle Peile / Balaangala Community Group
Images: Melanie Grevis-James.