I would like to begin this post by acknowledging the Yuggera people, the traditional Custodians of the land on which I’m writing to you from today, and pay my respects to their Elders past, present and emerging. I also would like to acknowledge that this land holds knowledge and practices which were implemented for thousands of generations before us.
Yesterday, 26th of May, was Sorry Day. A day dedicated to the remembrance of the mistreatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. The Stolen Generations were forcibly removed from their families by the government, welfare or church and then placed with non-indigenous foster families with the intention to disconnect them from their heritage and “erase” the culture. It is a day to remember the trauma and hurt caused and to acknowledge the strength and resilience of those children and families.
Today, 27th of May, is the first day of Reconciliation Week, a week set in the Australian calendar for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia. This year is a special one as it marks twenty years since Reconciliation Australia launched its journey for a more just, equitable and reconciled nation. The theme this year is In This Together, and honestly, no theme would be as fitting as this in working towards closing the gap. The reconciliation journey is a journey that we need to go on together, hand-by-hand, mind-to-mind, and heart-to-heart. If anyone had any doubts about the importance of doing things together, the times we are going through right now should serve as a wake up call. It is time to take off the blinkers and become more attuned to the world around us. We cannot afford to zombie cruise through life, ignoring things that make us uncomfortable.
No one is being asked to repent for the sins of peoples past, but everyone is being called upon to consciously make an effort, to learn and stand by each other. Here in Australia, we are privileged to be in the presence of one of the oldest continuous living cultures in the world. The history, the beauty and the magic of our First Nation’s people should be celebrated and incorporated, to a greater extent, in our schools’ syllabi, our entertainment industry, our historic landmarks, our workplaces and our governmental policies.
So we are calling on you to do your bit! In the spirit of the theme, In this Together, you don’t have to do it alone. Find a buddy go on this journey together. Better yet, call on your Indigenous friends and ask them questions or get them to share what they are comfortable to share. Let us continue closing the gap and discovering more about the original custodians of the lands we live on. You can find some links below to help you begin your journey.
Click here to discover the Indigenous clans of the land you live on (AIATSIS map of Indigenous Australia).
Click here to go on an awareness-raising journey (Share Our Pride journey map)
Click here to learn more about Reconciliation Week (Reconciliation Australia website)
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