Australians from all backgrounds are being inspired to ‘walk together with courage’ and build stronger relationships based on historical acceptance during National Reconciliation Week.
NRW is held annually from 27 May to 3 June. The dates commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey – the successful 1967 referendum and the High Court Mabo decision. The theme for NRW 2019 is Grounded in Truth: Walk Together with Courage.
“Reconciliation is ultimately about relationships and like all effective relationships the one between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians must be grounded in truth. There can be no trust without an honest, open conversation about our history,” Reconciliation Australia CEO Karen Mundine said.
Reconciliation Australia’s biennial research in 2018 found 80% of Australians considered it important to undertake formal truth telling processes.
Research shows about one third of Australians do not know or accept some aspects of shared history, including the occurrence of mass killings, incarceration, forced removal from land and forced removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families.
A lack of a shared understanding of history was a source of ongoing trauma for many First Australians and a roadblock to reconciliation, Ms Mundine said.
“Our nation’s past is reflected in the present, and the legacy of past traumas will continue to play in our future unless we heal historical wounds. Truth-telling is essential to build a shared understanding of our history and of the relationship between non-Indigenous Australians and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians as it stands today.”
Truth-telling in Australian had been given renewed national prominence through the Statement from the Heart.
NRW 2019 events will be held around the country during the week. Australians are being encouraged to support events that celebrate and build on respectful relationships shared by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians; and show how non-Aboriginal Australians can be active supporters of reconciliation.
The ANMF Federal Office will host a lunch in Melbourne featuring a native Australian inspired menu, including wattle seed damper, smoked eel, kangaroo pies and lemon myrtle tea. Staff will present short histories on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses and midwives that have contributed to the nation’s history.
To find or register a NRW event, visit www.reconciliation.org.au