National Reconciliation Week is a significant event for Indigenous and Non-Indigenous people of this Nation. 2020 marks twenty years of shaping Australia’s journey towards a more just, equitable and reconciled nation. The dates for National Reconciliation Week 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. 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.
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. In 2020 we also celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the Reconciliation walks of 2000, when people came together to walk across bridges and along roads throughout the nation to show their support for a more reconciled Australia. As always, we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. Australians now benefit from the efforts and contributions of people committed to reconciliation in the past.
The theme for NRW 2020 is ‘In this together’. With the tragic events that occurred throughout Australian communities over the summer, as well as the health and economic environment we are currently living in, this theme is now resonating in ways Reconciliation Australia could not have foreseen when they announced it last year. It does remind us that whether in a crisis or working towards reconciliation we are ‘one’ as a community. Each individual 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. At St Dominic’s College we acknowledge the Mulgoa people of the Dharug Nation as the Traditional Custodians of land. We recognise their long history and culture and continue our commitment to the reconciliation process.
National Reconciliation Week (NRW) is a time for all of us to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation. Throughout the week we will be holding several events to further grow the understanding of our students. News of these events will occur via our social media platforms and in the next edition of the College newsletter.
Reconciliation must live in the hearts, minds and actions of all of us as we move forward, creating a community strengthened by respectful relationships between the wider community, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
As Harry Ford once said, “Coming together is a beginning; staying together is progress and working together is success”.
Ms M Day Mr J Bourke
Director of Diverse Learning Indigenous Education Officer