With last week being Reconciliation Week (27th May to 3rd June), NCNS began celebrations with morning activities each day with our Brekky Club kids. They created bracelets with red and yellow wool. There was a timeline of significant events in history, a slideshow of different Aboriginal videos and children wrote their names on red and yellow feet that were placed on the wall. The kids even played noughts and crosses on a rock.
On Thursday, we held the formal Reconciliation Week breakfast at our Cranebrook Neighbourhood Centre where staff, community and service providers came together in recognition of Reconciliation Week and filled their bellies with a selection of delicious bacon, egg, sausage sandwiches, fresh fruit, yoghurt and cereal.
Uncle Greg started the day with a Welcome to County. Guests enjoyed traditional dance performances by Walan Mahlee, our Aboriginal girls and boys dance groups. It was so moving to see community & service providers getting up, joining the dance groups and attempting traditional dance. It was a fantastic display of unity between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians
The morning was wrapped up by NCNS Managing Director Joy Impiombato.
“Thank you for coming today to show your support for Reconciliation. Thank you to Penrith Councillor Karen McKeown, Uncle Greg, the dancers, Mark and Teagan. I would also like to thank our work placement students who have been heavily involved in organising the activities this week and today.
When we think of reconciliation we think of the big historical moments and changes; government policies, legislation, the Apology, those big moments that give us hope for change. However as grassroots community development organisations we know it’s the many individual stories that contribute and give meaning to Reconciliation. One of the main elements of reconciliation is historical acceptance. Its only through these stories that we can achieve historical acceptance.
This year’s theme is “Don’t keep History, a Mystery”. As service providers, we must create the space for truth telling and educate on past wrong doings.
Historical acceptance comes with acknowledging the past and leads to recognition of the need for redress.
Other components of reconciliation include; advocating for Aboriginal representation in institutions, forums and other places where decisions are made. When this is not happening, we need to put our hands up and ask the question, ‘Are Aboriginal people at the table?”
We have to understand that things can remain ‘in progress’ and it’s about giving the process time.
The most important thing, as service providers is a consensus to address health care, education and equity & equality. Until we address these Indigenous disadvantages, we are not on the path to equity and equality. Of course, race relations, a community of trust and respect that is free from racism.
The heart of reconciliation is understanding the concept of unity, our desire to go forward as friends and equals and the importance of formal ceremonies to commemorate significant events like we are doing today.
Remember that change comes from the ground up. One voice becomes two voices, then becomes three voices which becomes change. When it feels like progress is slow, remember that we can all take steps every day because the community we have is the one we create.”