This year’s theme for National Reconciliation Week was ‘Grounded in Truth, Walk Together with Courage,’ but what does this really mean?
Reconciliation to us, means bringing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and non-Indigenous Australians together.
The State of Reconciliation in Australia report 2016 identifies 5 essential components to measure reconciliation and these are:
Historical acceptance; acceptance of past wrong doings, the impact of these wrong doings, making amends and ensuring these wrongs are never repeated.
Race Relations; all Australians understand and value Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people’s cultures, rights and experiences and an Australia free from racism.
Equality & Equity; ensuring that all Australians have the same opportunities in life and recognising the unique rights of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Institutional Integrity; Reconciliation is supported in political, business and community structures.
Unity; All Australians value and recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s cultures and heritage as a proud part of our shared national identity.
This year’s theme focuses on the race relations component of Reconciliation. For Reconciliation Week we celebrated with a morning tea at our Cranebrook Neighbourhood Centre, where we invited local service providers and community to come together to listen, share and learn from each other.
The day started with a Welcome to Country from Aunty Carol who challenged others to speak up, connect and learn about Aboriginal culture.
On the day, we saw courage displayed in many forms, whether sharing a story or experience, listening to one another’s stories, willingness to understanding each other and being open to learn more about Aboriginal culture.
High school student, Reece Nuttall, spoke honestly and openly about his experiences as an Aboriginal young man. He talked about how this affects him, how he has an effect on others and his journey so far, being brave and speaking truths with his peers and community. Reece explained how he felt positive about all that was happening in the way of change however reminded us that there is so much more that needs to be done.
NCNS Managing Director, Joy Impiombato spoke about government changes, inequities in services provided for Aboriginal communities and how we can all do more. Joy emphasised the importance of our connections, partnerships and the success that can come from working together.
When people gather around food, it creates an opportunity to start conversations. An incredible grazing table was put together by NCNS Community Development Workers, Cathy & Lisa. Community were able to gather around, enjoy delicious food and begin to share their stories. The grazing table also had beautiful native flowers brought in by NCNS Early Childhood Worker, Zoe Harris.
We had a number of interactive activities that encouraged participation and offered community new experiences. NCNS Workers, Nada & Morissa facilitated a Raffia Weaving Workshop. While community sat around the mat learning how to weave, it gave them another opportunity to share their stories and experiences with each other.
NCNS Aboriginal Early Childhood Worker, Amy Lear ran a workshop where community got to make traditional Johnny Cakes. Amy talked about the history of Johnny cakes and once they were made, community got to taste them with native condiments such as bush tucker jams and chutneys.
Dave Gillett, NCNS Aboriginal Community Worker provided a table of Aboriginal Artefacts where community could get up close, touch and feel the different pieces. Dave shared knowledge and stories throughout the morning creating a safe space for participants to ask questions and share their own knowledge.
Thank you to Uniting who came along to support our event and ran a painting workshop with community.
We loved that the boys from the Clontarf Aboriginal Boys Program came to show their support on the day.
NCNS Community Development Worker, Justine Reynolds, who organised the Reconciliation Week Morning Tea shared her thoughts, “The highlight for me, was watching community connect with each other, share, embrace and participate. It was a warm and safe space that allowed for growth, listening, challenging truths, sharing knowledge and experiences. “
Providing opportunities for our community to learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ cultures, rights and experiences is an important step in working towards Reconciliation. When we understand and value Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people’s history, culture, rights and experiences, we can form strong relationships built on trust and respect, and free from racism, creating a better future for all Australians.
Reconciliation Australia. 2019. National Reconciliation Week 2019 Guide. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.reconciliation.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/ra-nrw-2019-guide_v8.pdf. [Accessed 18 June 2019].