The "Year of Apology": reconciliation and official apology in Australia and Canada
LE3 .A278 2019
Bachelor of Arts
History & Classics
Australia and Canada are often compared to each other due to similarcolonial histories. Moreover, they are often compared for their treatment of Indigenous populations through historical assimilationist policies. In recent decades, both countries have attempted to form new relationships with Indigenous populations through the decolonisation process of reconciliation. Though a subjective term, reconciliation in both Australia and Canada has included federal apology for these past policies that have caused significant, intergenerational harm in Indigenous communities. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd of Australia apologised to the Stolen Generations on 13 February 2008, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologised to residential school survivors on 11 June 2008. Rudd opened the apology period while Harper effectively closed it four months later. When observing the timeline of reconciliation and the calls for apology, the four-month period appears suspicious considering how reconciliation has developed in both countries. In an analysis of the lead-up to each of the apologies, it is evident that Harper had not only internal pressures from Indigenous activist groups, but external, international pressure from Australia to deliver the apology.
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