In November 2016, without any warning or notification, two boys were removed from their family in Arnhem Land and sent to Darwin.
The boys are the nephews of Indigenous Australian actress and dancer, Rarriwuy Hick who knew something needed to happen to bring not only her nephews back, but the children of families across Australia who were in a similar situation.
#OurKidsBelongWithFamily was born.
On June 30 2016, a census released by the Productivity Commission revealed that 16,846 Indigenous children had been removed since the apology in 2008 and placed into out of home care. Just under 11,000 of those children were placed with strangers.
The Indigenous Child Placement Principle states that if an Indigenous child is removed by welfare or a government authority, that child must be placed with either the immediate family, extended family, another Indigenous family or as an absolute last resort, a non Indigenous family.
On the anniversary of the apology to Australia’s First People, former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd warned of a new type of Stolen Generation.
There are 15,455 children in care. That’s 35.6% of the total 43,400 Australian children in out-of-family care. Indigenous children make up 5.5% of the Australian population and so the disparity in removal is glaring. Many are not placed with Indigenous foster parents.
Rarriwuy's nephews were two of these numbers. Two young lads who whilst in foster care, were denied access to culture, tradition and language and were rapidly losing pride in their identity.
So Rarriwuy and her friends stood up and fought.
The result, is the kids have now been rightly returned to their families.
This story doesn’t stop with Rarriwuy. We can see what happens when you stand up and fight for what’s right, for Indigenous kids to find a loving home with their friends or family as the first option. Let us take on the responsibility of, at the very least, sharing this story. Let's show how Rarriwuy has created change. And please, if you know a media outlet that would like to amplify Rarriwuy’s story so that we can reverse this epidemic get in touch and we’ll connect you.
"Please help me share my story and the story of so many others and give this message a voice. This is not right, and only together can we right the wrongs. The only thing necessary for evil to prevail is for good people to do nothing.”- Rarriwuy Hick, Yolngu Woman, age 26.