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Quiz about The Stolen Generation
Quiz about The Stolen Generation

The Stolen Generation Trivia Quiz


From the early 1900s to 1969, more than 100,000 Australian children of indigenous descent were taken from their families and raised as wards of the state. Test your knowledge of this sad chapter of history.

A multiple-choice quiz by CellarDoor. Estimated time: 6 mins.
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Author
CellarDoor
Time
6 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
262,222
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
6 / 10
Plays
824
Awards
Top 5% quiz!
Last 3 plays: Guest 58 (5/10), Guest 175 (3/10), Guest 80 (6/10).
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Question 1 of 10
1. Around the turn of the twentieth century, officials across Australia began putting into place policies whereby children of loving indigenous families -- especially mixed-race children -- could easily be taken away by the state. Which of these arguments was widely used at the time to justify the removal of mixed-race children from loving homes? Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. As tens of thousands of children were removed from their homes, state and local governments were faced with the Herculean task of finding places for all of them to live. Which of these was NOT routinely used as a possible placement option for indigenous and mixed-race children parted from their families? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. Some Australian states skipped the niceties entirely and simply placed all indigenous and mixed-race children under the official guardianship of the Chief Protector of Aborigines, without making any determination as to the fitness of the parents. In 1905, which of these jurisdictions became the first to pass such an Aborigines Act? Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. Families could be stricken by this policy in multiple generations. Author Doris Pilkington Garimara did not see her mother between the ages of four and twenty-five; it was only as an adult that she realized her mother, too, had been taken from her family as a child. What book did Garimara write about this time in history, describing her mother's efforts to escape to her family? Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. Members of the "Stolen Generation" were removed from their indigenous birth families for the express purpose of assimilating them into white Australian culture. According to a 1990s government inquiry, which of these strategies was regularly used to aid in the assimilation process? Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. In defense of the removal of indigenous children from their families, some have argued that it was for the children's own good: they could be given better opportunities and improved living conditions outside of their local communities. According to the government's 1997 report, did the "stolen" children grow up to be generally better educated, better employed, and more law-abiding than their counterparts who were left with their families?


Question 7 of 10
7. The beginning of the end of forced removal policies came in 1967, when an amendment to the Constitution of Australia was approved by a stunning 90.77% of voters. Which of these was a constitutional change introduced by this amendment? Hint


Question 8 of 10
8. In 1995, after years of pressure, Attorney General Michael Lavarch ordered an inquiry into the government's removal of indigenous children from their families. Subtitled "Report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families," their conclusions were presented to the Federal Parliament in May 1997. What is the report's title? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. In the months after the 1997 release of the governmental report on the Stolen Generation, a variety of Australian parliaments passed motions to apologize to Australian Aborigines and to Torres Strait Islanders. Which government did NOT officially apologize that year? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. The seventh recommendation of the 1997 government report was for a National Sorry Day, "to commemorate the history of forcible removals and its effects." The day, observed every year since 1998, also commemorates other injustices in the treatment of Aboriginals. On what date is National Sorry Day held? Hint



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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Around the turn of the twentieth century, officials across Australia began putting into place policies whereby children of loving indigenous families -- especially mixed-race children -- could easily be taken away by the state. Which of these arguments was widely used at the time to justify the removal of mixed-race children from loving homes?

Answer: Indigenous culture was doomed to extinction, but mixed-race children could be "saved" by assimilating them into white culture.

These officials usually believed that they were acting for the common good. Dr. Cecil Cook, who in the 1930s Northern Territory held the title of Protector of Natives, wrote, "The problem of our half-castes will quickly be eliminated by the complete disappearance of the black race, and the swift submergence of their progeny in the white." Others involved in implementing this policy tended to agree with him.

Another driving force behind the adoption of removal policies was a scare that some indigenous communities purposefully and selectively abused or neglected mixed-race infants, forcing the government to step in to protect these children. However, this argument could not be used to justify the removal of such children from families and communities that loved them and tried desperately to keep them. In testimony to a government commission in the 1990s, one woman -- taken from her family as a 5-year-old sixty years earlier -- recalled that "every morning our people would crush charcoal and mix that with animal fat and smother that all over us, so that when the police came they could only see black children in the distance" rather than lighter-skinned children who would be taken away.
2. As tens of thousands of children were removed from their homes, state and local governments were faced with the Herculean task of finding places for all of them to live. Which of these was NOT routinely used as a possible placement option for indigenous and mixed-race children parted from their families?

Answer: Foster families with indigenous parents

According to a survey of 350 government witnesses who had been taken from their families in childhood, the majority (52%) of children wound up in institutions, both government and missionary. An additional 16% were fostered out to, or adopted by, white families; 27% spent part of their childhood in institutions and part in foster homes. Since the removal program was designed in part to socialize the children in white culture, however, allowing them to be raised by indigenous families was not standard procedure. Extended family members tried and failed to adopt children whose parents could not take care of them. Records of which child belonged to what family were often lost, poorly kept or never taken in the first place. Letters from home were censored or destroyed; children and parents inquiring about each other were often told, whether it was true or not, that the other was dead.

Not all institutions took separation to such extremes, but all too many did.
3. Some Australian states skipped the niceties entirely and simply placed all indigenous and mixed-race children under the official guardianship of the Chief Protector of Aborigines, without making any determination as to the fitness of the parents. In 1905, which of these jurisdictions became the first to pass such an Aborigines Act?

Answer: Western Australia

Western Australia's 1905 Aborigines Act made the Chief Protector of Aborigines the legal guardian of all children under the age of 16 who had at least one indigenous parent. In 1911, similar acts followed in South Australia and in Northern Territory.

The Chief Protector left most of his legal wards in the care of their parents, but children could be removed from their parents at any time and at any age, for reasons that were often poorly explained or completely arbitrary. Families with mixed-race children bore the worst of these early policies. James Isdell, one of Western Australia's "Traveling Protectors" charged with defending Aboriginal interests, wrote: "I would not hesitate for one moment to separate any half-caste from its aboriginal mother, no matter how frantic her momentary grief might be at the time. They soon forget their offspring."
4. Families could be stricken by this policy in multiple generations. Author Doris Pilkington Garimara did not see her mother between the ages of four and twenty-five; it was only as an adult that she realized her mother, too, had been taken from her family as a child. What book did Garimara write about this time in history, describing her mother's efforts to escape to her family?

Answer: Follow the Rabbit Proof Fence

Doris Pilkington was born Nigu Garimara in 1937, in Jigalong, Western Australia. Her mother, Molly Craig, had been taken from her family to the Moore River Native Settlement; "Follow the Rabbit Proof Fence" recounts her epic nine-week journey (with two other girls) to return to her home. Sadly, history repeated itself in the next generation: Molly Craig's two daughters, Doris and Annabelle, were each taken away as toddlers. Doris escaped from Moore River herself (a story recounted in "Under the Wintamarra Tree") but did not find her mother again until she was twenty-five. Annabelle's fate is still unknown.

"Follow the Rabbit Proof Fence" was adapted for the 2002 movie "Rabbit-Proof Fence", directed by Phillip Noyce; it won a large number of awards, including "Best Film" from the Australian Film Institute.
5. Members of the "Stolen Generation" were removed from their indigenous birth families for the express purpose of assimilating them into white Australian culture. According to a 1990s government inquiry, which of these strategies was regularly used to aid in the assimilation process?

Answer: All of these strategies were frequently used.

One woman, taken from her family as a young girl in the 1940s, testified about her time in the Cootamundra Girls' Home, "I was there for 16 years and I was brainwashed every day of the week. You never go near Blacks. Your people don't want you anyway.

They're just dirty. They don't want anything to do with you ... We were playing in the schoolyard and this old black man came to the fence. I could hear him singing out to me and my sister. I said to [my sister], Don't go. There's a black man'. And we took off.

It was two years ago I found out that was my grandfather. He came looking for us." Stories like this show up time and time again in these testimonies: children forced to wash their mouths out with soap for speaking the languages of their parents, children whose names and birthdays and identifying details were changed to prevent their parents from finding them, children and parents who were each told the other was dead. Foster parents and caregivers testified that they sincerely believed that forced assimilation was the best way to care for these children. Unfortunately for the children, this belief was tragically mistaken.
6. In defense of the removal of indigenous children from their families, some have argued that it was for the children's own good: they could be given better opportunities and improved living conditions outside of their local communities. According to the government's 1997 report, did the "stolen" children grow up to be generally better educated, better employed, and more law-abiding than their counterparts who were left with their families?

Answer: No

Citing a 1994 Australian Bureau of Statistics study of indigenous people nationwide, the 1997 report notes that educational achievements, incomes, and employment rates were essentially the same for those who grew up with their birth families and those who did not -- but people who were removed from their families as children were twice as likely to have been arrested multiple times in the five years preceding the study (22% and 11%, respectively, fell into that category). Often, only one child of many would be removed from a family, undermining the argument that removals took place primarily to save children from wretched conditions at home.

The government report also included numerous testimonials of poor opportunities offered children who had been taken away from their homes. One woman, removed from her family in 1948 at the age of 5, wrote "I wanted to be a nurse, only to be told that I was nothing but an immoral black ... and I was only fit to work on cattle and sheep properties." Many institutional programs trained their charges for menial labor, nothing more.
7. The beginning of the end of forced removal policies came in 1967, when an amendment to the Constitution of Australia was approved by a stunning 90.77% of voters. Which of these was a constitutional change introduced by this amendment?

Answer: The federal government gained the power to make laws that specifically related to indigenous Australians.

Amendments to the Constitution can be passed only via popular referendum; this one was relatively simple, removing only two phrases from the Constitution. Originally, part of Section 51 had given the federal government the power to make specific laws concerning "the people of any race, other than the Aboriginal race in any State, for whom it is deemed necessary to make special laws"; the 1967 referendum, which removed the clause excluding indigenous people, placed them on an equal footing with Australians whose ancestors had arrived more recently. In addition, the amendment removed Section 127, which had explicitly excluded indigenous people from the national census. The changes did NOT grant indigenous Australians citizenship or the right to vote; these had been secured much earlier.

The federal government's new ability to override state and territory laws in this area symbolized a new approach to the status and rights of indigenous Australians.
8. In 1995, after years of pressure, Attorney General Michael Lavarch ordered an inquiry into the government's removal of indigenous children from their families. Subtitled "Report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families," their conclusions were presented to the Federal Parliament in May 1997. What is the report's title?

Answer: Bringing Them Home

In 1990, the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care, a non-governmental organization, resolved to demand a federal inquiry into the situation; five years later, that inquiry was launched under the leadership of Mick Dodson and Sir Ronald Wilson. Hundreds of people were interviewed at community meetings; hundreds more wrote in to share their experiences. The resulting document, an examination of a hundred years of social policy, was over 500 pages long, with a simple cover depicting an Aboriginal adult and child silhouetted against a sunset.

Much of the information in this quiz is taken from this report.
9. In the months after the 1997 release of the governmental report on the Stolen Generation, a variety of Australian parliaments passed motions to apologize to Australian Aborigines and to Torres Strait Islanders. Which government did NOT officially apologize that year?

Answer: The federal government of Australia

The release of the report spurred a wave of apologies from state and territory governments, which had been responsible for implementing child removal policies. Although one of the report's recommendations was a formal apology by the Australian government, then-Prime Minister John Howard ruled that out (although his government did pass a motion of "deep and sincere regret" in August 1999). It took a change of government to fulfill this recommendation. On February 13, 2008, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd introduced a motion that read in part,

"For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry. To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry. And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry."

Endorsed by the Opposition, the motion was passed unanimously in the House of Representatives and by the Senate; several notable dissenters made themselves absent for the vote.
10. The seventh recommendation of the 1997 government report was for a National Sorry Day, "to commemorate the history of forcible removals and its effects." The day, observed every year since 1998, also commemorates other injustices in the treatment of Aboriginals. On what date is National Sorry Day held?

Answer: May 26

Although not an official holiday, National Sorry Day (briefly renamed the National Day of Healing in 2005) is observed across Australia and as far away as London. Activities include marches, ceremonies, speeches, traditional dances, and the laying of flowers and wreaths. Messages and signatures from individual Australians are collected in Sorry Books, which are then presented to Aboriginal representatives. Organizations like the National Sorry Day Committee use the occasion to raise awareness, and encourage the inclusion of the Stolen Generations in school curricula.

Thank you for joining me in this exploration of a sad chapter of recent history.
Source: Author CellarDoor

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor bloomsby before going online.
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