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2007

  1. 143 member states adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Along with Canada, New Zealand and the United States, Australia is one of four nations to vote against the declaration, while 11 nations abstain. After 20 years of negotiations, the declaration establishes a universal framework of minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of indigenous peoples. It is the most comprehensive international instrument on indigenous peoples’ collective rights, including the rights to self-determination, traditional lands, territories and resources, education, culture, health and development.

  2. The National Aboriginal Alliance (NAA) forms in Alice Springs as a response to the intervention of the government in the Northern Territory. It describes itself as completely independent of government and committed to Aboriginal people’s right to self-determination [1].

  3. Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States are the only countries that oppose the UN declaration for the rights of Indigenous peoples worldwide. 134 countries vote for the declaration, 11 countries abstain. The declaration has no legal bindings. Canada initially was in favour, but changed its mind after lobbying of prime minister John Howard.

  4. Museum of Ethnography, Stockholm, Sweden returns 10 Aboriginal remains which were taken from graves in the Kimberley region of Western Australia by a Swedish archaeological expedition in 1910 and 1911 [2].

    There was this idea at the time that Aboriginal Australians were like human fossils, of a kind that had survived longer in Australia than elsewhere. — Anders Björklund, director Ethnographical Museum, Stockholm, Sweden, explaining why Aboriginal remains were taken [3]

  5. Stolen Generations memorial is opened at Mt Annan near Campbelltown, Western Sydney. The memorial, designed by Aboriginal artist Badger Bates from Wilcannia, features original forest, boardwalks and interpretive signs.

  6. John Howard loses the federal election in a landslide (‘Ruddslide’) defeat against the Australian Labor Party’s candidate Kevin Rudd. Rudd promises to say sorry to the Stolen Generations and to consult with Aboriginal people.

  7. The Victorian government appoints an officer to sift through almost 100 years of records in state and Commonwealth archives to determine whether Victorian Aboriginal people are owed wages.

    For each of my 'employment' placements, I was not asked if I wanted to accept the employment offer; nor did I know the terms and conditions of my employment (including rate of pay and hours of work). — Lesley Williams [4]

2008

  1. Marion Scrymgour (Australian Labor Party), in the Northern Territory Assembly becomes the first Aboriginal female deputy chief minister.

  2. Adam Giles (Country Liberal Party) is elected to represent the electorate of Braitling in the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly.

  3. National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC, USA. The remains of 33 Aboriginal people from the Gunbalanya and Groote Eylandt (Arnhemland, NT) return 60 years after they were taken. The remains are believed to be the first return from a major American institution. [5]

  4. Ngaanyatjarra Elder Mr Ward dies in the back of a prison van because the two officers failed to give him water and offer him breaks while driving 320km through 42-degree heat in Western Australia. Deaths in custody

  5. Lund University, Sweden. Return of the remains of two Aboriginal people that had been in the museum's possession since the end of the 19th century. This return brings the Swedish remains returned to Australia to 32 [6].

  6. For the first time in government history Aboriginal people perform a Welcome to Country as the federal parliament opens after the break.

  7. The Australian Parliament apologises to the Stolen Generations. Both the government and the opposition support the apology and say 'sorry' to Aboriginal people who were taken away from their families from 1900 to the 1970s. The apology has no legal effect on the ability of Aboriginal people claiming compensation.

    A crowd of people viewing Kevin Rudd's apology on a big screen, Federation Square, Melbourne
    Kevin Rudd's apology viewed by a crowd on Federation Square, Melbourne. Photo: Virgina Murdoch, Flickr
  8. Senator Andrew Bartlett introduces the Stolen Generation Compensation Bill into the Senate. The bill calls for ex gratia payments (i.e. without any liability or legal obligation) to be made to the Stolen Generations of Aboriginal children. The Senate rejects the bill.

  9. Tom Calma, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, releases his Ten Point Action Plan proposal as a way forward for the Australian government's Northern Territory Emergency Response.

  10. National Museums Scotland. Return of six Aboriginal skulls.

  11. South Australia creates the SA Aboriginal Advisory Council (SAAAC) which advises the government on programmes and policies on Aboriginal people. The council is meant to fill the void left by the abolished ATSIC.

  12. Patrick Dodson is the second Australian to receive Australia’s only international peace prize, the Sydney 2008 Peace Prize.

  13. Aboriginal people in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) vote for Australia’s first elected Aboriginal representative body since ATSIC’s demise in 2005. Seven representatives will be elected every three years to advise the ACT government on policy that affects the lives of the ACT’s Aboriginal population.

References

View article sources (6)

[1] Koori Mail 413 p.6
[2] 'Sweden to return Aboriginal remains to Australia', ABC, 19/10/2007, www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/10/19/2064893.htm
[3] 'Sweden to return Aboriginal remains to Australia' The Local, Sweden, 19/10/2007, www.thelocal.se/20071019/8844
[4] Stolen Wages committee submissions, loc. cit., submission #82
[5] 'Ashes to ashes...', Koori Mail 465 p.42f
[6] 'Swedish uni returns Aboriginal remains to Aust', ABC 20/2/2008, www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/02/20/2167340.htm

Harvard citation

Korff, J 2020, Timeline results for , <https://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/timeline/searchResults?page=30>, retrieved 31 March 2020

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