Each year, National Reconciliation Week (27 May – 3 June) celebrates and builds on the respectful relationships shared by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians.
The week is bookended by two important anniversaries: 27 May, when the 1967 Referendum was carried; and 3 June, the historic High Court Mabo judgement. This year those dates are especially significant being the 50th anniversary of the Referendum and the 25th of the Mabo decision. The theme for National Reconciliation Week 2017, Let’s take the next steps, reflects on these two momentous events and invites all Australians to join together in the next stage of our nation’s reconciliation story.
But there are many more dates of significance, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who have changed broader thoughts and feelings about Australia’s First Peoples. As we look to create or attend events during National Reconciliation Week, it is important to reflect on our shared histories and how we can all contribute to reconciliation. This can take the shape of a conversation with students, families or other teachers and staff in your school or early learning service, or a mural that illustrates the next steps for you and your students in the form of a painted footprint next to a written commitment.
What is so powerful about having a national week of celebration, reflection and activities, is that it generates opportunities and highlights potential for it to move beyond these seven days each year.
Reconciliation is a long and often difficult journey to embark on, but it is an important one. It demands patience, openness and a willingness to learn and grow together, and the rewards far outweigh the ‘difficult times’.
Together we can take the next steps!
There are some great resources in Scootle to support National Reconciliation Week in your school. To make them easier to find, we’ve created a Learning Path in Scootle.
Reconciliation Australia was established in 2001 and is the lead body for reconciliation in the nation. They are an independent not-for-profit organisation which promotes and facilitates reconciliation by building relationships, respect and trust between the wider Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.