As Australia marks 12 years since Kevin Rudd delivered the National Apology to Indigenous people a Katherine survivor of the Stolen Generation said he is "tired of empty promises".
More than 30 people, many experiencing intergenerational trauma as a result of the Stolen Generation, gathered at the Katherine Museum today to reflect on a dark history.
Sixty-nine-year-old Norman George was just one of the speakers to share his story, and says the opportunity to talk is his own form of therapy.
"I was taken with my brothers and sisters and aunties and uncles when I was four and it wasn't good. We were put in a dormitory with other kids and beaten," he said.
Mr George was taken from his home in Mataranka and put in Rettadixon Home in Darwin and says he was one of the lucky ones to be reconnected with his family.
But with each commemoration of National Apology Day, and each year more history lost, his hope for a better future ebbs away.
"At the time I thought [the apology] was great. We had a prime minister who had the guts to get up and say that.
"But nothing has happened, it was a shallow offering, we are still the same.
"These events are a chance for many people like me to talk about the past government policies that hurt people and continue to do so.
"It is therapeutic to tell my story, but more needs to be done to support people who survived and more needs to be done to close the gap."
Barbara Taylour is a committee member of the Katherine Region Stolen Generation group.
Her grandmother was taken from her home in Cape York, a remote peninsula in Far North Queensland, and moved far away from her family.
Like many Australians, Ms Taylour said the impact has been lasting on her and her family, but the strong ties in the group are a support like no other.
"It still impacts me, I feel like I missed out on culture and my language was never passed down... My grandmother was beaten if she spoke her language," she said.
She said the personal stories told today by Norman George and May Rosas, an elder of the local Wardaman and Dagoman group, painted a picture of what happened to many people.
"Most indigenous people are somewhat impacted by the government policies, that is why it is so important we have a group supporting the community," she said.
Children were removed from their families and communities through race-based policies right up until the 1970s.
On Wednesday, February 13, 2008, then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologised for the laws and government policies which "inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss".
"We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country," he said.
Mr Rudd said the speech marked the first step in resolving the injustices of the past, and closing the gap in life expectancy, educational achievement and economic opportunity.
But many people are still experiencing intergenerational trauma as a result of the the Stolen Generation, and the gap has only widened over the years.
The latest Closing the Gap report, released yesterday, shows just two of the seven Closing the Gap targets are on track to be met.
"I tell my story each year but I don't feel like anyone is listening," Mr George said.
"There is not enough knowledge being passed down about why we were taken.
"We have been having rallies and protests and still I keep going to funerals of people who will never see change."
Mr George said the government needed to shuffle the spending and put control into the hands of the people impacted.
"We don't want counselling controlled by some government organisation or health service," he said.
"We want to reconnect with other people and share our history."
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