In This Together - National Reconciliation Week 2020
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 123 No 4, 5 June 2020, page no. 19
Wednesday 27 May to Wednesday 3 June was National Reconciliation Week 2020, 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 theme for #NRW2020 – In this together – reminds us that whether in a crisis or in reconciliation, we are all #InThisTogether.
The dates for NRW remain the same each year; 27 May to 3 June. These dates commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey— the successful 1967 referendum, and the High Court Mabo decision respectively.
Much has happened since the early days of the people’s movement for reconciliation, including greater acknowledgement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights to land and sea; understanding of the impact of government policies and frontier conflicts; and an embracing of stories of Indigenous success and contribution.
2020 also marks the 20th anniversary of the reconciliation walks of 2000, when people came together to walk on bridges and roads across the nation and show their support for a more reconciled Australia.
Reconciliation is a journey for all Australians – as individuals, families, communities, organisations and importantly as a nation. At the heart of this journey are relationships between the broader Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
We strive towards a more just, equitable nation by championing unity and mutual respect as we come together and connect with one another. On this journey, Australians are all In This Together. Every one of us has a role to play when it comes to reconciliation, and in playing our part we collectively build relationships and communities that value Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories and cultures.
As I watched the short National Reconciliation Week clip for inspiration regarding this year’s theme of “In This Together”, I found myself feeling quite emotional, goose bumps covering my skin and tears swelling in my eyes.
It is emotional because I have guilt because of my lack of knowledge of Indigenous Australia before my time in Yarrabah and my ever-wondering mind as to why this wasn’t taught to me and why we are still trying grapple with the concept of teaching the truth about Indigenous Australia. I am also emotional with this sense of being overwhelmed with the love I have for my community and its people and how they have embraced me and my family. Particularly the heartfelt love that permanently surrounds my gadigadi (kids).
For me, National Reconciliation Week is a chance to celebrate the steps we’ve taken as a nation to recognise and unite all Australians. It is also an opportunity to highlight the barriers that prevent our Indigenous cousins' full participation in Australian society.
In 2020, we have plenty to celebrate, we recognise that our Indigenous brothers and sisters play an important role in our country. We are constantly seeking their historic knowledge and skills to fight our 21st Century issues, however we are still dragging our feet on recognising the lessons from injustices inflicted upon them from many years of laws and policies that sought to divide us. Reconciliation in 2020 is more than a word written in the sky, it is more than a movement and a march, and should most definitely be more than only highlighting the bits of Indigenous Culture we want to show to the world.
Reconciliation is action, reconciliation is us and we are IN THIS TOGETHER! As we say in Yarrabah: Buri Guman – One Fire!