National Reconciliation Week 2022

National Reconciliation Week 2022

This year’s National Reconciliation Week (NWR) theme is “Be Brave. Make Change.” The theme calls on all Australians to be brave and challenge ourselves and others to tackle issues that prevent reconciliation, to make change in our communities. To fully embrace National Reconciliation Week and its significance, it is important to learn about and acknowledge the history and importance of the days represented in the week.

National Sorry Day is on May 26, which remembers and pays respect to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples who were part of the Stolen Generations. The ILF acknowledges the horrific treatment of these children as they were removed from their families, culture, Country and Communities. We also acknowledge the incredible strength, resilience, knowledge and wisdom still held within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities today. 

The Anniversary of the 1967 Referendum and the start of NRW is on May 27. The Referendum made two changes to the Australian constitution, and meant that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were counted as citizens for the first time, and had the same laws applied to them as other Australians. You can explore information, stories, and photographs about what this Referendum meant for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples on the Right Wrongs website

The anniversary of the Torres Strait Islander flag is on May 29. This year marks 30 years since the late Bernard Namok Senior from Thursday Island won the design competition for the flag and it was presented to the people. The symbol is the Dhori and identifies Torres Strait Islanders. 

“The five points of the star are our group the Eastern, Central, Western, Port Kennedy group and the many that made the mainland their home" explained Namok.

Torres Strait Islander Flag

June 2 is Mabo Day, which pays respect to Eddie Koiki Mabo and his work for Native Title. Mabo was a Mer Island man who successfully fought to overturn ‘terra nullius’, which defined the Australian continent as ‘land belonging to no one’ prior to British occupation. Mabo’s hard work finally saw the Australian parliament acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders’ occupation and connection of land. 

Eddie Koiki Mabo. Source: ABC

The week is significant for many reasons, and we encourage you to engage by sharing, reading, watching, or learning from First Nations’ languages, histories, cultures, and achievements.

This year, ILF’s Reconciliation Action Plan Committee planned a number of activities for staff to engage in throughout the week. There will be a meeting for all ILF staff to come together and talk about reconciliation, what we have learnt, and how it impacts all of us. In this meeting we will discuss how recent some of these days and events are in history, and our individual and collective roles in reconciliation. 

During the week, staff will also participate in a screening of the award winning film, In My Blood It Runs and a discussion after the film. This was chosen as a recent stand-out film that offers an engaging depiction of the challenges faced by kids in remote Communities, and the broader challenges of reconciliation for the whole country.

Thanks to the support and generosity of Fanforce, all ILF staff are also engaging with Fanforce’s Virtual Indigenous Film Festival, where we are invited and encouraged to watch films that showcase First Nations stories and voices, and have an open discussion about what we learn. 

NRW is a time for us all to not only reflect and learn, but to be brave and make change. We invite you to learn more about it via Reconciliation Australia.

  • Posted 31 May, 2022

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