Bringing them home, the report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children From Their Families (April 1997), showed how important it is that Aboriginal people affected by forcible removal receive information about their families and their origins. The lack of this knowledge has caused distress for many people over many years.
In response to Recommendation 23 of Bringing them home, the Western Australian Government established a Records Taskforce to identify, locate and preserve records associated with Aboriginal people. The members of the taskforce have worked together to locate government and nongovernment records relating to Aboriginal people in Western Australia. Extensive negotiations have occurred with church groups who hold relevant records of cultural significance. Indexes of these records have been obtained for use as reference points by the Department for Community Development’s Family Information Records Bureau, which is a ‘first stop shop’ for Aboriginal people seeking this information.
Looking West — A Guide to Aboriginal Records in Western Australia is the culmination of this work. This guide details the location of records, type of service, years of operation, information in records and contact details.
The Government recognises the responsibilities of past policies and, in doing so, will continue to review and improve the way in which information is delivered as more becomes available.