From the desk of Chrissy, Communications Officer.
The #NationalReconciliationWeek2023 theme, “Be a Voice for Generations”, urges us all to keep up the momentum for change. The theme encourages all Australians to be a voice for reconciliation in tangible ways in our everyday lives – where we live, work and socialise. The dates for National Reconciliation Week commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey— the successful 1967 referendum, and the High Court Mabo decision respectively.
27th May 1967
On this day, Australia’s most successful referendum saw more than 90 per cent of Australians vote to give the Australian Government power to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and recognise them in the Census.
3rd June 1992
On this day, the Australian High Court delivered the Mabo decision, the culmination of Eddie Koiki Mabo’s challenge to the legal fiction of ‘terra nullius’ (land belonging to no one) and leading to the legal recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of lands. This decision paved the way for Native Title.
Check our suggestions below on how you can “Be a Voice for Generations”, while also acting to create a better country for future generations of Australia.
Inform yourself with First Nations produced, and created, content and news.
2. Expand your mind with award-winning Indigenous literature. The list is too long to print, so start with Talking to My Country by Stan Grant, Terra Nullius by Claire G. Coleman, That Deadman Dance by Kim Scott, Carpentaria by Alexis Wright, My Tidda, My Sister by Marlee Silva, Tell Me Why: The Story of My Life and My Music by Archie Roach, Fire Country: How Indigenous Fire Management Could Help Save Australia by Victor Steffensen, and closer to home, No Longer a Wandering Spirit by Sharon Huebner and Ezzard Flowers.
3. Immerse yourself in Indigenous film and segments of National Indigenous TV. The following incredible Australian films highlight some of the most important and unforgettable stories and performances from Indigenous Australians.
CHARLIE'S COUNTRY (2013)
A powerful and deeply personal depiction of our country’s societal imbalances.
Where to watch? Netflix and Prime Video.
IN MY BLOOD IT RUNS (2019)
A thoughtful and compassionate look at how the education system is failing our First Nations children.
Where to watch? Kanopy, Apple TV, Google Play.
Find out whose Country you are on – the AIATSIS Map of Indigenous Australia is a great starting point.
Learn the local area language(s) of the Traditional Custodians of the land on which you live. Where available, organise for a Traditional Custodian to teach some of this language to your workplace or community group.
Know the difference between an Ackowledgement of Country and a Welcome to Country.
5. Support our local Indigenous Corporations by following them on social media.
Find out more about the Gnowangerup Aboriginal Corporation and Tambellup Aboriginal Progress Association, and their work building a native seed enterprise.
6. Support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives and systems of knowledge on our natural environment, Seed Mob and Yerrabingin is a great start. Learn about how climate change is going to directly affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Stand up in support of those it’s already affecting.
7. Be informed about “The Voice” The Uluru Statement from the Heart.
Take these actions with you every day of the year, not just during National Reconciliation Week. Reconciliation must live in the hearts, minds and actions of all Australians as we move forward, creating a nation strengthened by respectful relationships between the wider Australian community, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.