Back in 1980, a historian named Peter Read had written something attacking the removal of part-Aboriginal children from risky homes to give them a better life. He claimed that instead of benefiting from this removal, they had all suffered grievous loss. He called his pamphlet “The Lost Generations.” But that wasn’t dramatic enough, so his wife suggested “The Stolen Generations” instead. This small but momentous change insinuated that all such removals were forcible, resisted, and illegal, and that Australia’s indigenous communities had been the unacknowledged victims of malign “genocidal” theft. That certainly got attention—enough to produce a government enquiry in 1997 and a national apology by the prime minister in 2008. (…)
In the most famous, portrayed in the mendacious film Rabbit-Proof Fence, the removal of three girls aged eight, eleven, and fourteen had little to do with their Aboriginality. They were removed because half-castes in remote full-blood communities were social outcasts.