National Reconciliation Week: 26 May - 3 June

Reconciliation is about strengthening relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous peoples, for the benefit of all Australians. While reconciliation can mean different things to different people, the State of Reconciliation in Australia report (2016) identified five integral and interrelated dimensions to measure reconciliation by: historical acceptance; race relations; equality and equity; institutional integrity; and unity. All are interrelated, therefore the state of reconciliation in Australia will only ever be as strong as its weakest dimension Building upon the 2018 theme, which focused on historical acceptance, we’re encouraging all Australians to build relationships that are based on that foundation.

National Reconciliation Week is a time 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. The dates for NRW remain the same each year; 27 May to 3 June. These dates mark two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey - the successful 1967 referendum, which gave the Australian Government the power to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and to include them in the Census; and the High Court Mabo decision, which saw the concept of terra nullius overturned.

This year’s NRW theme "Grounded on Truth: Walk Together with Courage" focuses on the race relations dimension of reconciliation. At the heart of reconciliation is the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the broader Australian community. To foster positive race relations, our relationship must be grounded in truth. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have long called for a comprehensive process of truth telling about Australia’s colonial history, which has been characterised by devastating land dispossession, violence, and often overt and unapologetic racism. Our nation’s past is reflected in the present, and will continue to play out in future unless we heal historical wounds. Recent research shows that 80 per cent of Australians in the general community and 91 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people believe it’s important to undertake formal truth telling processes. Australians are ready to come to terms with our history as a crucial step towards a unified future, in which we understand, value and respect each other.

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.

Source: Reconciliation Australia


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